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Leadership insights from the top: Exploring leadership through the narratives of CEOs in India

Tripathi, Smita; Prabhakar, Guru Prakash; Liddle, Joyce

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Authors

Smita Tripathi

Joyce Liddle



Abstract

This paper highlights the corporate and non-corporate leadership practices in India, the effect of culture on such practices and how these drive management philosophies. Semi structured interviews were conducted with CEOs from India. The findings provide insights into organisational leadership in the context of India, more specifically the values, purpose and culture that guides leadership and management and the unique context in which leadership is practised. A key finding was that Indian leadership shares some aspects of global leadership traits, but cultural factors are significant influences on leadership style and philosophy. The long socio-economic and historical context of India cannot be ignored and has flavoured the leadership style of its business leaders. Many qualities of a good leader, as defined by Indian CEOs were derived from the Hindu mythology (Bhagvad Gita, Mahabharata, Ramayana, and the four Vedas). The findings are helpful to both practitioners and policy makers seeking to understand the leadership style of Indian CEOs. Our contribution rests on leadership insights which provide a more nuanced leadership style with elements of universalism as well as a particularism rooted in the rich socio-economic cultural history of India. Such a leadership has enabled pragmatism and a performance focus in the face of group and collective orientation.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Nov 9, 2015
Journal International Journal of Public Leadership
Print ISSN 2056-4929
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 11
Issue 3/4
Pages 126-146
Institution Citation Tripathi, S., Prabhakar, G. P., & Liddle, J. (2015). Leadership insights from the top: Exploring leadership through the narratives of CEOs in India. International Journal of Public Leadership, 11(3/4), 126-146. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPL-02-2015-0006
DOI https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPL-02-2015-0006
Keywords leadership styles, India, culture, pragmatic jugaad
Publisher URL http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/IJPL-02-2015-0006

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