In much of corporate India, having a workaholic boss often means employees having to stay back until the boss calls it a day, making for skewed work life balances. And this is true particularly of the private sector where promotions and perks often hinge upon the boss upon whom much of the authority rests. So, displeasing the boss usually doesn’t get you anywhere resulting in many Indians quietly bearing the additional work hours, productivity be damned. In the UK and other developed economies, things however are different with a high level of priority accorded to work-life balance.
Now, Ratan Tata being Cornell educated must definitely know a thing or two about how things work abroad, especially when it comes to the work-life balance that folks abroad take very seriously. But, the folks in the middle management at Jaguar-Land Rover seem to have miffed Mr Tata when they promptly packed their bags and left for home when the clock struck five. This even as Mr Tata flew all the way from Bombay to attend a meeting in the United Kingdom. So, Mr Tata goes on to talk to the London Times who’ve quoted these words of MR Tata, which have been causing a furore on the interweb ever since yesterday.
It’s a work ethic issue. In my experience, in both Corus and JLR (Jaguar-Land Rover), nobody is willing to go the extra mile. I feel if you have come from Bombay for a meeting and the meeting goes on till 6pm, I would expect you won’t, at 5 o’clock, say, ‘sorry, I have a train to catch. I have to go home.’ Friday, from 3.30pm, you can’t find anybody in their office. In India, if you are in a crisis, if it means working to midnight, you do it. The worker in JLR seems to be willing to do that; the management is not.
For the record, Jaguar-Land Rover has been turned around spectacularly over the past couple of years under the new management and these comments made by Mr Tata has been met with stiff indignation amongst the the British MPs with David Frost, the Director General of the British Chamber of Commerce going on to surprisingly say that Nine-to-five is not British culture. Now, it is a fact that India has a terrible work culture with many Indians being overworked for a pittance as India still continues to be a poor country where money and the accompanying social pecking order requires most people to over work to achieve due to the overall low wages in the country.
Meanwhile, the Tata Group came out with an official statement stating that the London Times had “fundamentally misrepresented” Ratan Tata’s statements.
Mr Tata has always been proud of what these companies’ present management teams have been able to do following their acquisition by Tata. The Times… seeks to present these comments as being about company managers today, even though Mr Tata makes clear in the interview that new management at Corus and Jaguar Land Rover has eliminated those practices.
Do you think Ratan Tata questioning the 9-5 culture of the British is justfied? We’d love to hear what you think. You can sound off in the comments section below.
I ride, I blog and I trip. This apart, motorcycles, vintage mechanical watches, people watching, camping and traveling are my other interests. Incidentally, I hold a engineering degree in electronics and work experience in computer networks and professional blogging. I live in Bangalore currently and you could get in touch with me at [email protected]