Words on software and web development


Posts Tagged ‘organizational dynamics’

American claims InfoSys CEO is Dagwood’s PHB

Recently the CEO of InfoSys generated a bit of buzz by claiming that American programmers are mostly unemployable. I’d have to agree with him on one count – someone with his outdated ideas of organizational behavior should probably go elsewhere to find people more experienced in passive-aggressive colonial dynamics.

To put this in perspective, let me recount an adventure I had while in India a few years back. I was living in a rural area at the time, and on a visit to the greater New Delhi area to get a laptop fixed I ended up in the same building as a recent acquaintance named Ganpathi. I called him to ask if I could visit and he agreed. I came upstairs, signed in, and he took me into the office where he worked, and introduced me to his boss. The boss asked Ganpathi and I to follow him to a conference room and told Ganpathi he was not allowed to have any visitors here, and when we were done chit-chatting he could go home and don’t bother coming back again. Then he left the room.

In case you missed that, the guy was fired without notice or warning. And in case you were wondering, he didn’t work in the control room of a nuclear reactor. This is the management paradigm that InfoSys can’t really keep in the US because of employment law, but at the very least they would prefer to hire people who don’t object to being treated this way.

However, the companies that are really successful in India, like Microsoft and Convergys, have taken a more open approach to management which fosters creativity rather than the old-school colonial approach. They suffer from the same problems as technology companies elsewhere, such as competition amongst middle management and pressure to work more hours, but have discovered the real key to taking advantage of the Indian talent pool: you have a lot of raw talent to pick from, and you just need to create the right environment (both literally and organizationally) for them to thrive.

There are also those who feel the advantage of outsourcing is just getting things done cheaper, and there’s a niche for them as well. InfoSys is happy to take on their big projects and put hordes of people on them, and if any of them misbehave, they will be fired and replaced because with a billion people you can always find a replacement.