East versus West: Armada India's Ingenious Approach to HRM. Case Study . Harvard Business Review

By: Dr Sangeeta Goel
May 2016

In 2010, when India opened up its defence sector to private manufacturers, Armada India set up a factory in West Bengal. However, the factory faced issues of low productivity, delivery delays, and high rejection rates. A quirky new general manager of maintenance applied Buddhist philosophy to his human resource management practices. The workers, who until then had felt unimportant, now felt happy and engaged as they adopted the manager's ideas, which appealed to their local psyche. Strong results were seen in terms of improved production, productivity, and morale. However, senior managers had significant global expansion plans and were wary of this general manager's unorthodox management style. They hired a highly qualified, U.S.-educated human resource (HR) executive who scoffed at the "unsophisticated" practices of the manager and sought to change them, despite their success. What was the manager to do? Was the new HR executive justified in trying to impose more traditional business methods?

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