Ubuntu, Kyosei - The Need Of The Hour

Posted in Human Resources Articles, Total Reads: 1164 , Published on 01 October 2012

I am because we are!

Ubuntu when translated literally means “a person becomes a person through other persons” or “I am because we are”. Ubuntu is a people oriented approach to a task; a management tool which ensures involvement of each and every individual associated with an organization. It recognizes the importance of strong relationship between employees allowing them to be involved in decision making processes.

The most commonly implemented business strategies by the present world organizations are that of hierarchical or command-and-control nature. But Ubuntu provides a completely different perspective of employee empowerment which is more interaction based, hence harnessing the power of collectivism. It clings to the statement that the strength of a group lies in a relationship. It believes that stronger relationships enable the understanding of each other well, hence allowing a better decision by a more effective debate on pros and cons of the matter in hand.

Ubuntu confers an organization with better management practices. To begin with, actual relationships amongst various individualistic units are considered to be the genuine potential thus enabling a competitive advantage. Normally it is seen the companies are inclined to building individual skills or teamwork, where teamwork can simply be seen to be the combination of individual skills. Ubuntu describes deeper relationships and understanding, hence focusing on the processes rather on the outcomes.

For solving an issue or decision making, generally a linear view is followed wherein one decision leads to the next. In contrast, Ubuntu emphasizes on looking an issue from all angles possible hence getting a circular view, hence bringing out a more comprehensive solution. In addition, a structure which stresses on relationships forges a strong bond within employees resulting in increased employee loyalty and reduced attrition rate. Moreover, as an employee feels involved, he/she is more motivated for working towards the company’s goal/objective. If Ubuntu strategy is inbuilt in a company then it might not have to spend separately on various HR activities, like employee engagement.

Kyosei, on similar lines, is a Japanese philosophy which means living and working together for the common good, enabling cooperation and mutual prosperity to coexist with fair and healthy competition. The implementation of Kyosei can be divided into five broad stages, the first stage being that the company ensures an income stream and build a powerful position in the market. The subsequent stage would be valuing all the employees. They should be realized of their importance to the company and its success. In addition to this, a company should value its clientele, vendors, community groups and even the competitors and this comes under the third stage. Next, the company should think on a global platform and tackle the problems on the global front. Lastly the company should try to redress these global imbalances. The fifth stage is the one difficult to achieve.

Canon is one of the few truly global companies which understood the importance of Kyosei. The company announced the launch of the First Global Corporation Plan, which introduced the corporate philosophy of Kyosei in 1988. Ryuzaburo Kaku, honorary chairman of Canon, the Japanese technology company, believed that the future path is that of world harmony with the help of Kyosei, where in all people live harmoniously and work together into the future, regardless of their race, religion or culture. Canon’s need for a philosophy of Kyosei occurred when they started doing business on a global scale. As they expanded in the foreign countries, they encountered new sets of business challenges everyday like fierce competition in new markets, currency risks etc. But the greater challenges there were the global imbalances. Kyosei thus helped them to manage this imbalance.  Canon implemented the five steps of Kyosei in the following manner:

1- Firstly, Canon made a commitment to economic survival where they first established themselves on the global platform. They established a strong enough position in the market thereby ensuring secured profits. They contributed to the society purchasing locally produced raw materials, and employing workers.

2-Then the company entered the second stage of Kyosei when managers and workers began to cooperate with each other. Each employee made contribution and cooperated as part of his or her own duty.

3- In the third stage company entered into partnerships with outsiders and the stakeholders, i.e. the customers and suppliers. Customers treated respectfully reciprocated by being loyal. Suppliers provided with technical support in turn, delivered high-quality materials on time

4-In the fourth stage the company assumed global social responsibility which can be proved by the various corporate social activities carried out by the company.

5-In the fifth stage the company is making constant efforts to be globally active and manage the global imbalances.

Therefore, it can be said that these companies should be the first ones to adopt philosophies like Ubuntu or Kyosei as this is what the need of the hour is. As it can be seen that in today’s world the corporate world is on the global platform and the multi-national companies rule. So, these philosophies, which encourage improving relationships amongst the company personnel or between company and the customer, would not only help the companies attain corporate excellence but also promote sustainable development. Philosophies like these when implemented would support healthier relationships amongst all, thus an actively participating organization, and when such systems are accepted by one and all, it would result in a more peaceful and stable business environment. This is what is meant by “I am because we are”.

This article has been authored by Aparna Mathur & Radhika Bhatia from SCMHRD.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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