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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.

Due to the rapid growth in the Information Technology (IT) industry, any information, is now available in split of seconds. On line search engines, the mobile phones, radio, television and newspapers also adds to ready availability of information at the speed of thought.

However, one wonders if all kinds of information is really useful or is it just junk that is being dumped on us. A careful thought will help us ‘use’ all these information for productive causes.

Kautilya in Arthashastra says it is very important for a person to be well informed, but more important is the question – Why is information required?

“Coming to know what is known, definite strengthening of what has become known, removal of doubt in case of two possible alternatives, finding out the rest in a matter that is partly known – this can be achieved by external sources” (1.15.20-21)

Let us look at each aspect of ‘information’ separately,

1. COMING TO KNOW WHAT IS KNOWN

Some information that we get is already known to us. India winning the cricket match could be direct information that you must have got while watching a live telecast. The same information may be repeated in the next day newspapers. This information has very less value addition.

2. DEFINITE STRENGHTENING OF WHAT HAS BECOME KNOWN

At times there are cases when the information provided is half baked. We are not sure if this is correct. An additional information resource will help one to understand if the ‘hear say’ news is correct or not. We come to know the Director of a particular company has quit – this may not be correct information. It has to be cross verified with the person who is directly working in that company.

3. REMOVAL OF DOUBT IN CASE OF TWO POSSIBLE ALTERNATIVES

Let us consider a situation where a hotel has been publicised as a 5 star property by its marketing team while the news is that it falls only in the 4 star category. There is a conflict of information. In that case, the right information, say form the hoteliers association or from the tourism Board’s reports - will help one to reach the correct assessment.

4. FINDING OUT THE REST IN A MATTER PARTLY KNOWN

Most of the information floating around is not necessarily correct. They could be just gossips, rumours and personal viewpoints. Therefore, it is essential to cross verify and get a research done before we rush to make judgments or conclusions. It is done by going to the primary source of the information rather than relying only upon secondary sources.

Most important - all information is really not required. One should be focused on what one wants. As Philip Kotler the Marketing Guru says, “Marketing research and Market intelligence should give the information that YOU require, not what others want you to know”

Contributed by  - Radhakrishnan Pillai


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