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The Handy Guide to the Gurus of Management
Charles Handy was, for many years, a professor at the London Business School. He is now an independent writer and broadcaster. He describes himself, these days, as a social philosopher.
Business in Calcutta
A street typist in Calcutta, India
Episode 6: Sumantra Ghoshal

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We regret that Sumantra Ghoshal has died - however, his books and theories are still highly influential, and for that reason this webpage and the radio programme about him have been left in their original format.


For his popularity and influence among the leaders of business, The Economist magazine recently named Ghoshal as one of the Eurogurus.

Ghoshal believes that big corporations have emerged as perhaps the most important social and economic institutions in our modern society. They are much more than money-making machines. They are what holds society together and provide it with the means of progress. The problem is that their managers don't always understand this bigger role and, if they do, they don't always like all that it implies.

Ghoshal thinks it is crucial for our societies that the managers wake up to their new role and, more than that, that these giant organizations learn how to re-invent themselves so that they can go on producing wealth and driving progress for us all.

Ghoshal sees the new philosophy of management being focused not on the management of financial capital but on human capital. Human capital is not just the knowledge and skills that individuals bring with them, it also means what he calls 'social capital' the relationships in the organization, and the 'emotional capital', the motivations and emotions that govern so much of what we do.

It's not enough to think of employees as assets. Perhaps we should think of them as volunteer investors, choosing to invest their talents in the organizations they have joined.

Of all our gurus he is perhaps the most international, the one best equipped to carry ideas across borders. Let's hope he does, because there may well be as many insights to be found in his native land of India as in the countries of the West.

Our next guru is also international, although Japanese by birth. He is Kenichi Ohmae.

Read Sumantra Ghoshal's biography

Some useful business words:

become known

means, translates into

very important

wake up to
start to pay attention to

here, moving something forward

being focused
paying attention to

control, direct

property that has value

across borders
into many countries

clear understanding

BBC World Business
Business Words in the News
Other gurus
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