Friday, February 8, 2013

Business Model: Tata Sons

The Economist publishes excellent articles.  Yet, at times, a disappointment does emerge.  While discussing the $100 billion conglomerate and the transition of Mr. Cyrus Mistry to the Chairman of the company, the magazine disappointed in completely missing the history of why Tata Sons' ethos are as they are, while complaining about it sustained growth rates of 3% to 4%.

Tata was founded by Mr. Jamsetji Tata, a Parsi (or Zoroastrian).  The core of Tata companies has always been social sustainability and ethical conduct.

A founder of one of the largest private equity firms in the USA told me recently that he will not work with any company in India, except for a Tata company.  He said simply, "They don't take or give bribes, and they don't lie."

The article states:

"The Jack Welch comedy club
This is the sort of approach that Tata veterans disdain. They see the “kill, cure or sell” philosophy of famous Western managers of conglomerates, such as Jack Welch of GE, as comically macho and short-sighted. One divisional head admits: “Return on capital is not at the centre of our business. Our purpose is nation-building, employment and acquiring technical skills.” This benevolence even applies to staff abroad. Embattled Tata Steel Europe has 33,000 employees."

Perhaps it is time for Capitalism driven on quarterly returns to have a longer term view for the health and well being of its employees and the society.  But then it may not be considered Capitalism with a capital 'C'.

Read the complete article here.  Read the "Purpose and values" of Tata here.

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