Indian business leadership: Broad mission and creative value


  • Peter Cappelli


Business leadership, Mission, Purpose, Shareholder value, India


While general models of business leadership have drawn extensively on American companies, we find that two distinctive leadership principles have emerged among Indian companies. We conducted interviews in 2007–09 with top executives, primarily the chief executive, of 102 of the 150 largest companies listed on the Mumbai stock exchange. Though aware of Western leadership principles and applying some of them, Indian business leaders have developed their own guiding principles that emphasize 1) broad mission and purpose, servicing the needs of stockholders but also focusing on family prosperity, regional advancement, and national growth; and 2) creative value propositions, devising new products and services to meet the needs of large numbers of low-income consumers with extreme efficiency. Business leaders in the U.S. have long stressed total shareholder return, and while business leaders in India also focus on owner interests, Indian business leaders have embraced goals extending beyond their company's financial calculus.