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‘Innovation runs in their DNA’

Canadian writer Morgen Witzel in conversation with Aarefa Johari.

mumbai Updated: Jul 31, 2010 00:58 IST
Aarefa Johari
Aarefa Johari
Hindustan Times

A known name in the management world, Canadian writer Morgen Witzel is the author of 15 books on business and management including Doing Business in China and Be Your Own Management Guru. An honorary senior fellow at UK’s University of Exeter Business School, Witzel is a regular contributor to The Smart Manager, India’s first management magazine. He is in the city for the launch of his latest book, Tata – The Evolution of a Corporate Brand.

Why did you choose to write about the Tatas?

I was interested in the Tata group for a long time without knowing much about them. So when Penguin approached me to write this book, I thought it would be fascinating. Little did I realise how fascinating it was. I knew that the brand was very rooted in the Tata family, so I began by going back to the histories of Jamshedji and J.R.D Tata. I knew of Jamshedji as just a businessman, and was very surprised to find that he was also a passionate Indian patriot.

How is the Tata group different from other corporate brands?

Tatas have a genuine passion for innovation. It runs in their DNA. Also, they do a staggering amount of CSR (corporate social responsibility) activities, with greater interest and conviction than any other company I have seen. For them, it’s not philanthropy, it’s just what they do. Your book mentions that stakeholders create myths about a brand.

What are you working on next?

I am working on a book tentatively titled, The History of Management Thought, looking at ideas of people about management right from the age of the Pyramids to modern day. It includes a section on Kautilya’s Arthashastra, which is practically a management book. I find India fascinating, and its sheer diversity in everything from language and culture to food and religion is impressive.

First Published: Jul 31, 2010 00:55 IST