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Merit only criterion for management studies

If India desires sustained and faster growth, merit alone should be the criterion for management studies.

india Updated: Apr 08, 2006 18:20 IST

If India desires sustained and faster growth to emerge as an economic power, merit alone should be the criterion for management studies, feels US management expert Jeffery D Ford.

"I favour merit alone as the criterion for admissions to management institutions. If you want to open the opportunities for people who have been sidelined for decades, then there are other ways but merit alone is going to support faster and sustained development," said Ford, who is a professor of management and human resource at Fisher College of Business, Ohio.

In India to address management students at Rai University campuses in Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Mumbai, Ford said: "If you want to slow down growth, than only would you ignore merit as a criterion."

Ford's views echo a growing sentiment among the industry and management experts who are opposed to raising the level of reservations in government funded higher centres of learning to 50 per cent for the economically and socially sidelined communities.

There is currently much unrest among students over the government's move to reserve 27 per cent seats for backward classes in all central universities, IITs and IIMs. Central government-funded institutions already reserve 22.5 per cent of seats for students belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

Speaking from his experience and interaction with Indian management students, Ford said the greatest need of the day in modern enterprises was to have employees who realise the need fro self-motivation and self-monitoring instead of waiting for the top bosses to do policing.

"I have learnt that the management ideas I teach in the US are similar to the requirements in India as the issues are the same. There is need for greater efficiency in management not through more monitoring but through reliance on workers to be self-monitoring," said Ford.

An expert on organisational change and management, Ford was elected as a charter member in the Academy of Management Journal's Hall of Fame and has also received Academy's Bronze Award for research.

Strongly advocating a dilution of the administrative and bureaucratic strong hold, Ford said there was a need to stop relying on policing to get the best output from workers.

"Working with Indian students and US managers has made me aware that there is too much reliance on top bosses to tell us what to do. For propelling faster growth there is need for greater self-motivation. This would help at all levels but benefit more at the middle rung," said Ford.

Admitting that management demands changed according to circumstances, Ford said, "certain fundamental pieces remain the same though some additions may be required".