Read 2: Guidelines for Value Based Management in Kautilya’s Arthashastra N. Siva Kumar ; U. S. Rao My objective of choosing this reading was to understand the historical evolution of business ethics in India. Business has been a part of Indian landscape since thousands of years, I wanted to understand if there were any guidelines being passes as an Indian business legacy on business ethics. Kautilya’s Arthashastra is supposed to have been written during the 4th Century B. C. (Bandopadya, 1980). In Kautilya’s treatise, the government was the organization and its basic philosophy was to create a welfare state.
We can extrapolate the teachings of Kautilya about his observations about Kings as corporate leaders and of Kingdoms as modern organisations. “By any definition the Kautilyan state was a welfare state par excellence in which the king was a model of personal purity and sobriety and is called upon to work for the happiness of the people. The author narrates Kautilya’s value based leader: Primary goal of the leader: The leader’s primary goal according to Arthashastra is to fulfil the philosophy of the organization. According to Bhagat (1990: p. 93) “it was for the happiness and welfare of his subjects that the king existed”. Leadership values: Kautilya thus gives a list of values the leader has to possess which among others include: (a) Piety; (b) Truthfulness; (c) Reliability; (d) Gratefulness; (e) Liberality; (f) Promptness; (g) Freedom from vices. Apart from the above list of values Kautilya also gives reference to the values of the leader throughout his treatise. These include: The king should avoid any profit that would be injurious to the subject.
Corporate culture: Kautilya’s scheme can be studied under the following aspects: . Organization member values: Kautilya understood the necessity of promoting values among other members of the organization to fulfil the corporate philosophy. Such members apart from being experts in their own field of work must have among others the following values: (a) Integrity; (b) Capability; (c) Loyalty; (d) Character; (e) Intelligence; (f) Perseverance; (g) Dexterity; (h) Friendliness; (i) Devotion; (j) Amicability. 2. According to Kautilya, one of the major factors that have to be taken into consideration while appointing officials to various posts is their character and conduct. . Extrinsic rewards: Righteous behaviour under Kautilya’s scheme has to be rewarded. 4. Check on unethical behaviour : Supervision and inspection of activity, punishment for fraudulent behaviour like manipulation of accounts, corrupt trade practices should be established. Conclusion: Kautilya thus gives a comprehensive model for value-based management for an organization. Starting from an organization’s philosophy, he gives guidelines for leadership, corporate culture, welfare policies and finally getting feedback on performance. Thus Kautilya’s Arthashastra proves its relevance even today.