Democracy at work? Four short & insightful conversations with C. Balagopal

Insights on Democracy in the Workplace

Check out the video links (italicized) below, they feature a four part interview of 
C. Balagopal, discussing "Democracy in the Workplace"

Evolution of the Trade Union Movement in India: Businesses the world over tend to see Trade Unions as a foe to be outwitted and where possible, eliminated. Thus Trade Unions in India (and worldwide) are having to evolve as they attempt to keep up with a fast changing commercial and regulatory landscape.

An accomplished capitalist roots for Trade Unions! It is not everyday that gets to talk to an accomplished business owner who is nevertheless an advocate for an energetic and participatory Trade Union in the work-place. Bala, as he is affectionately known to many, grew up as the son of an Estate Manager. He learned his early lessons in Managing workers from his father and his Uncle, a die hard advocate for workers. 

Launch of a blue chip career: As an Economics student doing his Masters at Loyola College, the young Balagopal came to appreciate the checks and balances present in the College Students Union while focusing on his studies. His hard work paid off and Bala soon found himself rubbing shoulders with his fellow probationers after securing the coveted career of a member of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS). His career in the services took him to Manipal and later to Kollam in Kerala where he served as a Sub-Collector. 

The gamble of a lifetime: One fine morning after a good deal of soul searching, the young Balagopal decided to give up his coveted IAS career and step into the shoes of a budding entrepreneur. He forged a licensing tie up for technology with the Chitra Thirunal Research Center for the manufacture of Blood Bag (Packaging) Systems and thus launched Terumo Pempol, a company which was to grow into one of the world's largest manufacturers in this highly specialized area. 

First steps towards testing some of his management theories
At Terumo Pempol. the young Balagopal struggled through the early stages of entrepreneurship. The were probably moments where he questioned his own sanity in taking this leap away from a cossetted administrative career, where he could have been"hob-nobbing" with the rich and famous. Instead young Balagopal found himself talking to the Labour Officer for his region about holding a class for his employees on how to start a union. 

Democracy as it applies to unions: As CEO of Terumo Pempol, Balagopal willingly supported the formation of a labour union and soon found that it paid to have workers provide their take on some of the choices facing the young company.

Hence the four short videos that follow on:

Balagopal's evolution as a labour sympathetic Manager

Advantages of encouraging greater democracy in the work place.

Issues attendant upon democracy in the workplace.

The role of democracy in the workplace, especially given fast moving labour trends and management practices. Also, the role of workplace democracy in the unorganized labour segment.

It looks as democracy in the workplace could well have a future!

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