Hi Friends,
                                              Even as I launch this today ( my 80th Birthday ), I realize that there is yet so much to say and do.
                                                  There is just no time to look back, no time to wonder,"Will anyone read these pages?"
                                       With regards,
                                       Hemen Parekh
                                       27 June 2013

Wednesday, 5 December 1984

AN EXPERIMENT IN TRUSTEESHIP

Synopsis: Communication For Productivity
Letters written to some 7500 Workers / Managers / Union Leaders, following a period of strike / Go slow / Murders (1979 - 1987), at Mumbai factory of Larsen & Toubro Ltd. This direct / open / honest communication led to a remarkable atmosphere of trust between Workers and Management, which, in turn, increased productivity at 3% per year (ave).

5 Dec 1984

To:
Dear Shop Supervisor                

AN EXPERIMENT IN TRUSTEESHIP


I enclose herewith an article taken from "Business India".

About 2 years ago,  I had sent to many of you, a  book titled "THE INCREDIBLE JAPANESE".  In my covering note,  I had drawn a  diagram  which  I  had  called  the  'Pyramid  of  Worker-Participation' .

The  apex  of the  pyramid  was  titled  'Trusteeship' -  the normal concept being that the  means of production ultimately belong  to the  society and  that we  are  merely 'trustees'. This was Gandhiji's  approach to bring about a  change in the attitude  towards work  and in  the relationship  between the workers and the management.   Under this concept the interest of the society came  first.

I do  not think  the  Japanese read  Gandhiji's  views before they started  their experiments in  worker-participation.  On the  other   hand,   in  a   recent   seminar  on   "Japanese Management",  I  heard  3 Hitachi  executives  narrate  their management - approach to improvement  of industrial relations and  I found  that there was  a striking  resemblance  in the approaches   of   Hitachi   (pages   78-112  of   "incredible Japanese".   In case  you have not  received a  copy  of this book earlier, please  collect it from me  personally) and the approach at "Khira".

Now I  understand better what Mr.  V. Krishnamurthy (Managing Director  - Maruti  Udyog Ltd.)  meant when  he  said in  the seminar,

We  selected Suzuki as our  collaborator, not because of technological  or financial considerations,  but because we  strongly felt that,  at Maruti, what  we needed most was not  the technological know-how but  the attitudinal know-how - the Suzuki work-ethics".

And although Mr. Krishnamurthy realizes  that cultures cannot be transplanted across thousands of  kilometers from an alien society,  he  has   made  some  small   (but  bold)  symbolic departures at Maruti - e.g.

-     From General Manager  down, everybody wears identical uniform
-      There is only one Canteen for everybody     
-      There are no cabins for anyone at the factory.

Apparently Ganges flows down Mount Fujiama !.

 

              H.C. PAREKH

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