Hello Professional HR & Business Veterans,
Please find attached a very inspiring whistle-blowing watchdog entrepreneurial lesson in ET on Cultural Transition, Integration & Compatibility and Financial Management of Family Wealth i.e. Sethji Culture in Most Family Companies.

From India, Mumbai

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File Type: pdf Sethji Culture in Most Family Companies.pdf (112.1 KB, 933 views)

Dinesh Divekar
Business Mentor, Consultant And Trainer
Hr Advisory & Executive Coaching
Consultant, Writer And Trainer
Cite Contribution
Community Manager
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Dinesh Divekar

Dear Dilip,

The "Sethji" culture is prevalent in India has reasons embedded in ancient times. India never had been country of inventors. We never thought of giving something new to the society. "Toyota Production System" gave to the world concept of lean manufacturing. Walmart and Dell have given to the world concept of managing supply chain efficiently. Today study of Walmart is study of supply chain and study of supply chain merits study of Walmart.

In contrast, our Sethjis were traders and today also they pride in remaining as traders. In erstwhile times Sethjis sold small items that were manufactured in India. Now they sell "Made in China" products. If you read history, you will find "Vaishyas" the section of society did business but they never manufactured anything. This Sethji culture has origins in this "Chaturvarna" system of society.

The Sethji culture exist because we do not have strong sense of originality. This strong sense of originality is missing because of we were ruled by outsiders for thousands of years. Sethijis lack global vision and common Sethji has pride in competing with another Sethji and hardly he thinks of competing with anybody in overseas.


Dinesh V Divekar

From India, Bangalore
Cite Contribution


Here's a similar discussion from HBR . Family firms need professionals

I had shared my thoughts on the same. My views are primarily to the upbringing . However, it fundamentally includes the small and micro-level enterprises.

This article considers the large business houses. Small and medium enterprises that are run by families, are not mentioned here. These entities are not failures. They rather strive for perpetuity than sudden gains. Small trading companies held by people from Gujarat, and Maharashtra had been working brilliantly. The reason being, the environment of these households builds a child with the mindset required to survive in the business. The diary and food sector is another area, which have worked wonders. They may not call for an IPO, but are likely to remain profitable for a much longer duration. Here, the business responsibilities for every child start with an extensive apprentice right through their teens.
Education is quintessential. An organized learning coupled with the experience crafts a CEO. This can form in an academical environment as well as in the natural environment when groomed aptly for the purpose.

(Cite Contribution)

From India, Mumbai
Well i agree more with both (Cite Contribution) and Dinesh however like to add that I find it little difficult in generalizing the issue about Indians not being original against the backdrop of our rich heritage (which for some reason have been blatantly copied and used by foreigners more than us Indians). But I guess a realization is dawning upon the younger generation.
From United States, San Francisco

The only thing lacking is right education...once our Sethijis will have that, such as tata and ambanis there is no stopping them.
Tatas, Birlas, Ambanis have already shown the world that education mixed with family business can take the business to a totally different place altogether.

From India, Delhi

Our education system (modified by the queen's rule) ensured we stopped thinking and followed the rote system of learning to get good grades... we merely repeated and vomited out what was told to us (which we also accepted without questions)..
The originality in our culture was slowly and gradually diminished by the foreign rule making us mere puppets in their hands ... till date. This was how they were able to rule over us for so long.

Even now the person who stands up to ask questions is ridiculed in public but admired from within....

We have stopped thinking and merely repeat others' successes. It is humiliating to fail and hence we do not even try and take the safer path and hence we live mediocre lives. A student is judged by his marksheet rather than his inquisitiveness. the purpose of Education is to open up a closed mind. Unfortunately here we are more interested in closing up budding flowers.

As for the Sethji culture, this kind of copycat mentality increases his insecurity and often the Sethji's efforts are siphoned off by more enterprising (and less ethical people). Chances are the Sethji himself would be guilty to some extent.

From India, Mumbai

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