Sustainable Economic and Social Development Through Institutions

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Thesaurus defines ‘organization’ as an entity that comes together and works for a collective goal in a structured and streamlined manner, impacting its own performance and clearly separating it from its own environment. Institutes, on the other hand, are entities that go beyond processes and people. Institutes stand for organizations that possess its own values, integrity and culture. And this is what distinguishes them from organizations. Often, people mistake one as the synonym of the other. Every institute is an organization, however, vice versa is not true. Since historical times, India has been the breeding ground for various innovative and non-conventional institutes—some of which are remembered even today because of their impact on human behavior and society in general. Even today, educationists consider some of the famous ancient Indian learning institutes, such as Taxila (now in Pakistan) and Nalanda, as one of the highest seats of learning. The concept of Gurukuls (a Vedic school where students, or disciples as they were called, lived along with their teachers) was pioneered in India. Here the “shishya” (the student) devoted his early years in the hands of the “guru” (the teacher)—who guided his entire childhood till he attained maturity and passed on all his learning and wisdoms acquired during the course of life. The common theme around all these delivery methods was to impart an all-round personality development and character building to the individual. And it was this holistic approach towards education and life in general, that India could sustain its lead on economic, social and political front for a long time. Institutes Shape Human Behavior

“There is some 'threshold' effect, beyond which, further increments in knowledge or improved attitudes no longer influence behaviors.” – Becker Human behavior is dependent on one’s individual beliefs, attitude and emotions—all of which, in turn, are influenced by the external environment or institution. Becker also reiterates the fact (in above lines) that theoretical knowledge impacts human behavior only to a certain extent. It is correctly said, “Individual behavior responds to normative expectations of social settings”, which in our case is institutions. Institutes, by definition, are not restricted to educational institutes. Some of the very ubiquitous forms of institutes include professional organizations/companies, provided they conform to the above standards. Family, being the most basic institute an individual encounters with, can be classified as a primary institute. Two of the above intrinsic factors, beliefs and attitudes, are largely shaped by the family-level and social upbringing an individual is exposed to. Having been born and brought up in the cosmopolitan capital of a culturally diverse country like India, my personal experiences corroborate that family and the ethnic background form the first set of influencers in an individual behavior. I was able to appreciate this fact all the more during my schooling and engineering years, where I interacted with people from various ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, and nationalities on a daily basis. Each one of us had a different perspective and consequently a different approach towards an issue. Every company/work place has its own culture. As a working professional spends majority of his/her time at his/her work environment, its culture starts impacting professional’s ideology. Institutes go beyond time and people, and at work place, their ability to shape human behavior arises from their organizational structure, design and culture—all of which is based on its set of shared values, mission and vision statement. For instance, the very famous Indian conglomerate, the Tata group is an embodiment of the ethical code of conduct in the corporate world. Key to such sustainable institute building can be explained by one of the famous Organizational Behavior models – the 7S model, where each and every aspect of...
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