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Defining Power for the Corporate World

This article explores the relevance and application of Principles and Strategies discussed in the 3rd Century BC treatise, Kautilya’s Arthashastra, in Today’s Corporate World.

Corporate world’s search for supremacy over competitors and players of other industries can be summed in one phrase – the search for ‘power’. All CEOs refer to this struggle for power as a warfare strategy. No wonder the book ‘The Art of War’ by Sun Tzu is often quoted by heads like Nandan Nilekani of Infosys during many of his interviews.

Kautilya’s Arthashastra is India’s contribution on the subject of warfare strategy. Out of 15 books in Arthashastra, six books are dedicated to the art of warfare. A deep study of these chapters will give us an insight to the factors that contribute to making of a powerful organisation.

Kautilya, in the Arthashastra gives us various factors that make up true power.


The power of knowledge. The corporate world is today led by knowledge workers. It’s an intangible asset of any organisation. Management Gurus across the globe are talking about the knowledge revolution that is happening in this century. The greatest commodity of the future is going to be ‘knowledge’. No wonder the richest man in the world Bill Gates, is part of the IT industry which is nothing but knowledge oriented. Even the highest paid executives are evaluated on the basis of the knowledge they have over the years of working experience.


Men are assets of an organisation. They are of two types – internal and external. Internal manpower compromises employees of the organisation, the board of directors and the share holders. External manpower includes the customers and suppliers. It is because of them that we exist. We have to focus on satisfying our customers. As Peter Drucker, the father of management points out, “The aim of marketing is to know and understand our customers so well that the product or service fits them and sells itself”.


Financial success is the basis on which an organisation can progress. A sound balance sheet is the parameter on which employees, shareholders and stake holders continue their support to the organisation. As Jack Welch, the former Chairman of GE points out “Nothing succeeds like success”. To be financially successful is very essential. It gives a lot of courage to the organisation, not only to share its profit but also to reinvest in various productive areas like research and development, venturing into new projects and ideas as well as contributing to many social causes.


This is the most important factor of all. A leader who is charged with enthusiasm and high level of morale can create the reaming three. Research has proved that the most productive organisations are the ones that have a very high energy level in them. The drive to ‘get more’ is the true sign of progress. Venturing into new markets, scaling high targets, working towards deadlines finds it roots in enthusiasm. All great organizations have inspired leaders.

Contributed by  - Radhakrishnan Pillai

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