Monday, August 23, 2010

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

No…this is not the story of Dorothy, the one written by Frank Baum.

Two weeks ago, we had Dr. Kerry Pedigo, Academic Director from The Curtin Business School, Perth, Australia. Dr. Pedigo has a long list of credentials, but for us – ignoramuses, it is just convenient to address her as the Wizard. Chennai Business School has signed an MOU with Curtin Business School and as a part of this, Dr. Pedigo was with us for a week and interacted with us on certain topics in Organizational Behaviour like Learning styles, Corporate Social Responsibility and Ethics.

The session was…..intriguing. In the era of globalization, we are in the age where we have to finely balance out the cultural demands with ethical values, corporate social responsibility with profitability and customer relationship management against corruption. Dr. Pedigo’s lectures opened up a fresh perspective on the global business scenario, on the sensitive side, for a change.

A glimpse of some activities we did in her class:

- We were given a personality test and were made to assess ourselves. The results of the test came as a surprise as we weren’t really, what we thought we were. This resulted in accepting the fact that we could be wrong about our assumptions on others too. For instance, people with a laid-back, but a criticizing attitude could be a source of irritation to others. But in reality, they belong to the personality category of ‘Reflectors’ who are just over-cautious.

- She gave us a set of fifteen different crimes and asked us to rank them. When we were done, we were surprised that the crimes that were insignificant to us, could actually call for capital punishments in other countries.

- We discussed a famous Corporate scandal in a very unique way. A few of us, represented the Company in question and justified its stand (though we knew that the company was at fault) and surprisingly, we were able to stump the others who argued against us. We understood that Ethics and Laws were two different things. We might not be bound by our laws, when we cross our boundaries, but we are bound by our ethics and values.

- Finally, while discussing the international work culture, we had another interesting group activity, where we learnt that every part of the Globe has its own culture, the way people see things there and when we go there to do business with them, it is absolutely important to be aware of the cultural aspects of the place for successful ventures. In an interesting manner, we enacted different aspects of the Indian culture, to give a feel of unity in diversity in India to Dr. Pedigo.

It is just so sad that all good things come to an end. It happened in Dr. Pedigo’s case as well. One week was just too less for us. The ideas that were introduced to us, the cases that were presented, the statistic that we saw in her power point presentations made us wonder – “Is it really a small world?” May be we have managed to defy the tyranny of time and space. But where are we culturally? Well, all we can say is that – “We are going to need a lot of bridges, and we better get to work!”

Contributed by Narmada K- BFS Varsity (V Batch 2010-11)

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