Indian Organizations VS Foreign Origin MNCs: Key Differences

It is a known fact hardly 4-5 Indian Companies are able to make an entry into Global Power list of Top 500 Companies, I mean Fortune 500.

The Fortune list worries me. Despite being a nation with 1.2 Billion population which translates into a very big market; and a good talent pool of aspiring youth, why we are lagging.

In last one decade I got chance to work both in Indian Major Business Houses and Foreign MNCs. I also discussed many times with my friends about the companies (and their strategies) where they are working. And I noticed striking different ways of doing businesses. There may be some common grounds but not many. Let me narrate few of major different styles of the two:

(Consider IP for Indian Player and FP for Foreign Player.)

IP: no long term career plans for their recruits. Indian Managers are used to hire from a pool of many and give little importance to your talent. They want sycophancy. HR in India is more often used to daunt employees from freely speaking rather than understanding their grievances.

How many Indian Companies are ready to sponsor their long time employee for upgrading his skills via MBA programs. Rare it is.

FP: typically Indian setups of Foreign Players are localized now. So they are not very diff. from their Indian counterparts. However globally they have good career paths on offer and HR is a strategic department which can be used for variety of expectations.

IP: no thrust on Innovation in general. There are few exceptions such as Mahindra, Godrej, Tata, etc. But the names are few. IP don’t see much benefit of Innovation and investment in R&D.

FP: globally they have inherent culture and thrust on Innovation. It doesn’t mean one can change working practises, but yes top management is well aware of importance of Innovation and investment in R&D.

IP: offices or production lines are untidy in general. Non luxurious attitude is common in Indian setups (but don’t misunderstood this for “modesty”, it is more near “stingy”)

FP: These companies are good in making hell lot of money by their superior business models. Offices are swanky by large. Its visible they follow high standards e.g. stationery is freely available, woman employees can ask for office cab if they get late in office, travel in Business Class, etc..

IP: no long term business strategy. Averse of risk taking. No global expansion plans.

FP: by default they have tendency to go global. MBA hires are sought by these companies in their Business Development and similar roles.

IP: Long term employee concept in India has decreased a lot. It is common that increments are to the tune of 2-10%. So employees keep looking for opportunities in other companies where they can switch with an increment for say 25-30%. (FP: Increments are on higher side and can be in the range of 10-20%.)




FP: Training first, and assignments are clearly defined. Put it like this, whatever you work there is some end result.

There is some Displacement from your efforts.

IP: No training, start working from day one. There is chaos. Employees are leaving always and filled by young graduates. They start working on those positions and in parallel keep looking for jobs in other companies. Growth is slow. Promotions are rare. You are encouraged to change job for a promotion in your role.

There is no Displacement from your efforts. Only you are covering Distance.

FP: Growth is fast accompanied by Global Exposure. Talent recognition is debatable. If you work abroad in those companies you can climb to the top out of your hard work but same might not apply in Indian offices of these MNCs.

IP: not system driven but People dependent. Paper work is common. Job transfer or change in job profile is less.

FP: highly process driven. Paperless working style. Transfers and job roles changes on a faster note (It can bring stress).

IP: it is common in Indian set ups that even till last working day of a resigned employee no hand over is taken from him. Moreover, worse is that when some new one joins he is expected to take the charge from day one.

Over the period you are expected to be good in making lies and passing the buck to others’ court. Else you are doomed.

FP: they go for immediate replacement and hand over of work. Files are saved in central folders. Even important projects if you are working on, then email is not used as person’s name. It is like, or Hence employee is well aware after his departure nothing is hampering the daily working of the company.


Now comes the advantage part of Indian Players:

IP: Job safety is higher. Firing or pink slip is uncommon. Not careful towards local taxation, rules, etc.

FP: Merciless. If the company is not performing good, actions can be taken by top management in form of reducing employee strength, etc. MNCs don’t believe in false kindness at workplace (according to them). Very careful towards local rules and won’t take any decision in that regard.

IP: sense of belongingness. Since it not a foreign headquartered company, chances are good that you can interact top management and one day you can  reach till there based on your performance. I mean chances are higher to reach to top in Indian set-ups.

FP: there are few examples where PIO made to top management of major FP such as Indira Nooyi, Satya Nadella, Sundar Pichai, Nikesh Arora, etc. but names are few and they were able to do so because they worked in their country.

IP: basic facilities such as peon service, etc. is there in place. Guards at office gates or factory gates gives you importance. You have fair degree of ownership and authority when you arrive in the office.

FP: you are made realized from day one that you are just a resource.

Now comes last but probably most important difference:

FP: Only 5 days working model. Rather I knew companies which are running offices in India on alternate Fridays off as well. Which translates into 4.5 days working model. There is huge importance to work life balance.

IP: I really don’t understand why IP HR insist on 6 days working model. Worse, people are even asked to come on Sundays. And it is common. Let me tell you. You work in a Factory or you work in Finance Sector, you can be called for 7 days working. IP simply don’t believe in employing sufficient manpower.

The above difference is probably the most critical difference and have key to failure of IP model. It clearly shows they are insensitive to their manpower.

We can see there are pros and cons in the two structures. But for sure IPs need to take some good practises of FP if not all.

I wish that more Indian Companies make to Global Order and Hall of Fame. Surely there is a long way to go. We need our own global biggies to bring more employment, fame, technology, and business in our country.

My thoughts only. God Bless!


Published by Rishabh Agarwal


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