Professor A.D. Amar, Stillman School of Business, was chosen to conduct an All Academy Theme Symposium of his creation at the 76th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management. The Academy of Management, often referred to as simply "The Academy," is the preeminent professional association for management and organization scholars and academics. The Annual Meeting is attended by more than 10,000 business and management researchers and professionals from around the world; the 76th Annual Meeting was held in August at the Anaheim Convention Center.
The symposium, entitled "Looking into the Bhagavad Gita for Managing Organizations to Become Meaningful," looked back to the ancient Indian text for guidance in the management of business and organizations of the twenty-first century.
The Bhagavad Gita is a Hindu text narrating Indian intellectual and spiritual tradition that is a few thousand years old; it is also, as Professor Amar noted in his symposium presentation, part of the core curriculum and, thus, a required reading for all undergraduate students at Seton Hall.
Because, as Professor Amar notes, the Bhagavad Gita "very artfully intertwines work and life with spiritualism, it lends itself to modern management." Amar writes:
The Bhagavad Gita considers humans as multi-potential spiritual entities that work to seek meaning and a place in the larger plan of existence. There is some learning in The Bhagavad Gita for everyone connected with management. For example, it guides how to achieve the goal of creating a purpose and meaning for what employees do at work. The meaningfulness of the work they do has been a factor in employees' decision in picking the best companies to work for in America. They trade off higher salaries for a better organizational culture that meets this condition. That is what makes management's understanding of how to make work meaningful so important. Successful managers run their organizations so that their employees actually fulfill their desire to attain their purpose and meaning through the work they do, and the Bhagavad Gita is focused on that (citations omitted).
For the symposium, Professor Amar assembled a team of Bhagavad Gita experts, including Communication Professor Jon Radwan, who teaches the Bhagavad Gita at Seton Hall and chairs the Faculty Senate's Core Curriculum Committee that, as mentioned above, requires instruction of the ancient text.Professor Radwan's presentation, entitled "Leadership and Communication in the Bhagavad Gita: Unity, Duty, and Equanimity," covered these titled concepts within the ancient text and talked about how their introduction into the workspace can make organizations more meaningful. He also discussed how lessons from the Bhagavad Gita can guide businesses in the West- even (or especially) in the context of the last decade's prevalence of corporate greed.
Other presenters in the symposium included Satinder K Dhiman, professor and dean, Woodbury University School of Business; Paul Palmarozza, principal of Principled Business, London; and Swami Sarvapriyananda, Vedanta Society of Southern California. The symposium discussant was Swami Ishwarananda of Los Angeles' Chinmaya Rameshwaram.
Presented to a crowded house, interest in the symposium was so great that its time slot had to be extended by more than a half hour to accommodate responses to audience questions and comments.