Organisational Behaviour: The Military Experience – Vice Admiral (Retired) Ganesh Mahadevan Lectures at TAPMI

Very few times students of business administration get a perspective of organizational behaviour in a military organization. Today, the students at TAPMI experienced an enthralling session by Vice Admiral (Retd) Ganesh Mahadevan on his involvement with the Indian Navy. He gave an exhaustive and informative view of organizational behaviour at work at Indian Navy.

Mr. Mahadevan (Retd.) Vice Admiral, Indian Navy delivers the talk.


He began his speech by saying – ‘The more we sweat in peace, the less we bleed in war’, which was much applauded by the audience. He introduced them to the Indian perspective of transformation – what it takes to become a world class navy.

He gave a brief insight on the challenges faced by a military organization. Every nation’s military has to be viewed in terms of related context. He proudly boasted of the Indian Navy – a voluntary organization which consists of 80000 sailors and 9000 officers, and dissected it on the basis of basic models for Organizational Behaviour, in the lecture that followed. He discussed the organizational structure of the Indian navy along with the importance of leadership and team building in this vast field of study. “Navy officials are selected on basis of technical specifications. Indian navy is driven by a higher ethic and cause. A successful navy is one that has its man management right.”- He emphasized  “Every situation faced is different and one must be equipped to face them.” He updated the audience on the fundamental philosophy present in the Indian navy – the tradition of rotation. He also spoke about the different levels of mechanisms – institution, group and individual mechanisms.

According to him, Motivation within this great body is immensely significant. The Indian Navy is motivated to perform to their maximum capability. Motivation arises from work that creates tangible results; results that are brought about by innovation, new ideas or approaches; work that more or less coincides with a man’s values and beliefs. Conscious and deliberate stress is necessary to motivate an individual to a higher degree, which results in accomplishment of the objective. Team building is an important aspect in the Indian navy, where mentoring is institutionalized. Adventure training and sports are other activities that strive at building competitive spirit. Boot camp is one activity that transforms a man into his culture.

He stressed on the technologically intensive characteristic that makes the Indian navy differ widely from the Indian army, where (Indian navy) man, according to him is 50% and machine is the balance 50%. This is how technology is valued in the Indian navy – the autonomous functioning in demanding environment. The challenges with respect to technology include investing and invention. The economies of scale are tilted against the Indian navy and stands as a profound difference as to how to maintain such a large organization. The Indian navy is diverse in its equipment sources, and thus it becomes very essential to have a huge mass for its maintenance and sustainability. Shipbuilding programs are held to keep the individuals well equipped.

He settled the lecture by saying that organizational behaviour is a vast field of study, and the extent of implementation depends on context, size of the organization – something that is highly valued and essential in a manager or leader in today’s professional world.


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