Thursday, February 18, 2021
A.D. Amar presented on management of knowledge workers during his keynote address.
A.D. Amar, an acknowledged expert on Indian business and professor of management at the Stillman School of Business, presented the Chief Guest Keynote Address at the seventh annual Management Doctoral Colloquium and Vinod Gupta School of Management Research Scholars' Day of the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur.
Titled "How to Manage Without Authority: Towards A Theory of Knowledge-Intensive Work Management," his address was given at the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur on February 3. IIT Kharagpur was the first of India's premier IITs to be established and is recognized as an Institute of National Importance and an Institute of Eminence by the Indian government. It has 5,000 research scholars, and Google CEO, Sundar Pichai, is an IIT Kharagpur alumnus.
"Although I have spoken for many gatherings globally, including at professional societies and university events, this was a unique opportunity to speak at one of the most prestigious universities, not only in India – but in the whole world," said Amar. "It was both exciting and intimidating."
In his presentation Amar postulates that "In an organization, such as the knowledge-intensive organization, where a variety of specialized, unrelated or little-related tasks are executed, it is unlikely for any one individual to effectively carry out the leadership responsibilities." He further proposed that "A knowledge-intensive organization will be led more effectively if the formal leader eschews power and creates an environment of shared leadership."
He said he took several days to decide on the subject and content of his presentation. "Because I was presenting at an Indian institution, I wanted to connect my presentation with ancient Indian thought – to provide a mix of the West and the East. I also wanted to bring something new, controversial, thought provoking and of general interest so all the participants could connect with the content, no matter their area of research," said Amar.
His recent work, combining the management of thought workers with precepts held within the ancient text of the Bhagavad Gita, has previously been featured at the 76th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management in 2016 and at the International Gita Symposium 2020 cohosted by the College of Communication and the Arts' Institute for Communication and Religion (ICR) and Singapore's Gita Jayanti Committee. This virtual forum "The Bhagavad Gita and Humanity Today" attracted over 15,000 viewers, including international scholars and faith leaders.
Coming to the U.S. as a student from India, Amar has since taught, consulted, held management positions and trained managers in industry and public sector undertakings in the USA, India, Poland, Russia, the United Kingdom and China. Among his publications is a graduate-level book on knowledge work and organizations titled Managing Knowledge Workers (Westport, CT: Quorum Books; 2002) and many peer-reviewed scholarly research articles in journals such as the Harvard Business Review, Organizational Dynamics, European Journal of Innovation Management, and IIE Transactions.