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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

ON THE BREAKFAST TABLE

Today morning on the breakfast table, Major, Jammer, Gomez and myself had a discussion which made me rethink the topic again and again during the whole course of the day. So what is that helps in instilling an ideology….an culture into any concept?

Major was sound and clear. It is not possible to create a great learning environment just by making attendances compulsory…just by making the Honor Code all powerful…just by concentrating on grades. Unless a person himself realizes that he has to respect the Honor Code, not by compulsion but by choice, the culture cannot be created. Unless the student himself feels that he is missing something not by attending the lectures, it is no point synchronizing grades with attendance. I could see lot of point and depth in Major’s contention.

But then, when Jammer is around, things get real interesting. How is it possible to instill such culture into Indian students? Will it be a good idea if the Honor Code system is discontinued? Under such a situation will students have an incentive to invest the best of their abilities into the assignments? The Honor Code was never there when ISB started. But the situation forced the creation of such a committee. And if attendance is not made compulsory, then will classrooms wear the same look as it does now…..may be it will…..may be not.

While Major and Jammer kept the discussion on, Gomez kept on meandering, sometimes supporting Jammer and sometimes the Major. And I kept on wondering why is it so difficult to create a culture without forcing a person to do something. What does it really take to create that culture…the kind of culture that exists in the big names like Harvard and Wharton?

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Sabya,

At some point of time you have to start respecting who you are as an individual. Institutions would be a lot more efficient if people start to conduct themselves. Having said that someone has to make a start by letting people do exactly that. Consider big grocery stores throughout US. People have access to self checkout counters which works well for both the stores and the consumer.

The question that institutions in India should be asking is whether they are ready to put their trust in people (read take this risk). I know technology such as RFID can make all of this irrelevant. But until such a time good'ol method of trust works out the cheaper option.

Kapil

SABYASACHI said...

True Kapil....Also the fourth lecture of Management of Organisation has some articles related to culture of organisations...pretty interesting

the joker said...

hey, from the batch of 2005, just trying my hand at this blogging business.

on some level i agree with your friend who says that these things can't be learned unless people figure them out for themselves.

my personal opinion is that although isb puts people together at very close quarters and you get to know people very well, the people that come there are there for a variety of different reasons. the education, the tag, the job, networking, time off from corporate life, usually strange mixes of all the above, whatever. i think that enforcing rules aimed at making people be more attentive to their academics is therefore a little pointless because attitudes aren't something that can be taught, in the end the people that want to learn will participate more, spend time in the library, whatever, and the people that don't want to just won't.

I know that there is merit to the idea that people shouldn't cheat on their assignments etc, but to some extent taking away the freedom of choice limits the diversity that isb is trying to build in it's admissions process.

SABYASACHI said...

So nice to meet someone from the class of 2005...But what do I call you as...Joker is definitely not the best way to call an alum...just kidding..

Somehow I feel the honor code should be there for atleast a few more years....One way of looking at it is what would have happened if it were not there...just my understnading though....

AD said...

Hi Sabya,
Not sure what you are really referring to when you say that "the kind of culture that exists in the big names like Harvard and Wharton".

One thing which I can say is that, at an institute like ISB, these things will be difficult to establish without a well defined framework (i.e. Honor Code and other such things) in place. The reason for this that any culture cannot just be created or instilled without its people.

At ISB, the flow of culture cannot really happen as its a 1 yr program. There are only limited opportunities for face to face and continuous interaction between the successive batches.

So, coming back to the arguement put forth by Major and Jammer, as you have mentioned, one does require a basic framework for things to operate. The framework has to be flexible so that it can keep evolving on its own, esp. in cases such as ISB. Otherwise, sustenance would be difficult eventually.

Hope this makes some sense and gives some food for thought for your basic question.

AD

PS: I have sent you an invite on orkut; my full name is Abhinav Dehariya...not sure if you have seen it yet!

Anonymous said...

Ad...I have added you in the orkut
sabya