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Spirituality Quotient and Business Management

ET Cases, 5 pages
AUTHOR(S) : Deepti Nair and Dr. Nagendra V. Chowdary

Case Preview

Spirituality Quotient and Business Management


Expected Learning Outcomes

• Assess business schools’ current curriculum and debate on their relevance in the corporate world
• Whether the introduction of spirituality-related courses would transform MBAs into responsible corporate citizens



Business Schools’ Curriculums: Logos, Ethos and Pathos

1. Is there any difference between a syllabus, a curriculum and a course outline? If yes, what should each of them ideally focus on?

2. “Using the classroom to help develop people…who have never managed is a sham.” Do you agree? Validate your response.

3. “The MBA was first introduced in 1908; it last underwent serious revision based on two reports published in the late 1950s…yet their flagship, the MBA, is a 1908 degree with a 1950s strategy.” Do you agree with this statement? Has the intent, content, scope, format, relevance, etc., of the MBA undergone any change over these years?


Business Schools and Spiritual Quotient

1. The base article of this case flyer highlights a few spirituality-related courses being introduced by a few Business Schools like the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Bangalore and Calcutta and SP Jain Institute of Management and Research. Do you think spirituality-related course(s) should be made mandatory or should they be offered as electives?

2. Do you think when spirituality-related topics are being offered as ‘Courses’ they would eventually become like any other course – syllabus-oriented with faculty-prescribed textbooks and evaluation? Would it lose the intended purpose? Would the purport of this course be taken away?

3. Do you think spirituality-related courses should be offered more as immersion programs with a training-focus rather than a teaching-focus?



Exhibit I: Business Schools’ Input and Business’ Expectations

Exhibit II: Institution and Individual Value System

Teaching Note Preview

Spirituality Quotient and Business Management



This case flyer focuses on the growing emphasis of premier Indian business schools on designing and introducing spirituality-based courses in its PGDM and Executive MBA programs. It deliberates on whether spirituality-related courses should be made mandatory by the business schools or would it be more effective if offered as an elective course. Is the business school curriculum designed to cater to the needs of the corporate world? The base article1 showcases the initiatives being taken by various B-schools in order to instil values like compassion and righteousness in their students. It also highlights how Indian B-schools are designing spirituality-related courses by drawing insights from spiritual texts such as the Bhagvad Gita. Can an increased focus on spirituality quotient guarantee future leaders who value ethics and righteousness over success and profits? Will introducing spirituality as a subject, reduce it to yet another course over a period of time?

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • • Assess business schools’ current curriculum and debate on their relevance in the corporate world
  • • Whether the introduction of spirituality-related courses would transform MBAs into responsible corporate citizens


Positioning and Setting

This case flyer can be used in the following course/program:

  • • Organizational Behavior (OB) – Learning & Attitude Modules – How appropriate learning can lead to shaping-up appropriate attitudes
  • • Faculty Development Program (FDP) – Re-inventing the relevance of the MBA program


Suggested Orchestration

Before the Case Flyer Discussion

a) Students were asked to read –“Managers Not MBAs: A Hard Look at the Soft Practice of Managing and Management Development”2 and “It’s Time to Make Management a True Profession”3. This exercise will help students gain an insight into the challenges of creating managers in classrooms and the need to treat management as a profession.

b) Most importantly, prior to the actual classroom discussion, the students were encouraged to analyze all the questions given in the case flyer (either individually or in learning teams or in appropriate discussion forums) to enable them to participate effectively and to enrich the learning outcomes.

During the Case Flyer Discussion in the Classroom

This case flyer can effectively be discussed in the classroom under two broad related topics.


I. Business Schools’ Curriculums: Logos, Ethos and Pathos

• The discussion commenced by asking students to deliberate on the difference between a syllabus, curriculum and a course outline. This stirred an interesting debate in the classroom as students highlighted that a syllabus is a collection of the various concepts to be delivered or taught by a faculty, while dealing with a particular chapter. More importantly the following were highlighted:

Syllabus -------------------------------> Concept-Focused
Curriculum ----------------------------> Business Relevance Concept
Course Outline ----------------------> Business Dilemma-Focused

• It was emphasized that a syllabus merely served as a checklist for both the faculty and the student with minimal focus on understanding the practical role and relevance of the concepts being taught. This was followed by stating that a curriculum was a revised and more effective version of a syllabus which focused on 3-4 core business related concepts. Unlike a syllabus, it was not a mere listing or collection of concepts.

• It was then asserted that a course outline was the ideal manner of showcasing the purpose and objective of a management course. Using 4-5 broad management-related questions/business dilemmas, the course outline would highlight the essence of the management course in question.

• The discussion then focused on whether it was justified to confer a Master’s degree on students with no experience in the corporate environment, let alone manage a business. As the mix of students in this class comprised of freshers (without any work experience) and students with a few years of work experience, this question paved the way for an interesting debate.

• .....................


Exhibit (TN)-I: Business Schools’ Input and Business' Expectations

Exhibit (TN)-II: Institution and Individual Value System

Rs 0
Product code: OB-4-0022, OB-4-0022A


This case flyer and the base article1 enable a discussion on the renewed emphasis being laid by premier Indian business schools on the concept of spirituality. It provides a platform to debate on the role of spirituality-based subjects in grooming future leaders. Driven by the expectation that focussing on the spirituality quotient would instil values such as external resilience and the ability to handle stress, Indian B-schools are introducing courses like the 'Science of Spirituality' and 'Embedded Leadership Excellence', among others, in their Executive MBA and PGDM programs. Indian business schools have embraced this new impetus on spirituality quotient with the expectation of grooming future leaders with a long-term and all-encompassing outlook. Are values like leadership and compassion innate or can they be developed? Is it possible to instil values like righteousness and ethics within a fixed duration? Will spirituality-based subjects wither out over a period of time?

Pedagogical Objectives

  • To critically assess business schools' (especially Indian business schools') current curriculum and to debate on their relevance in preparing the students for the desired and expected roles in the corporate world. Do they serve their self-mandated interests or do they serve their primary customers' interests?
  • To discuss and debate on whether the introduction of spirituality-related courses would transform MBAs into responsible corporate citizens with high moral and ethical compass

1 Rica Bhattacharyya, 'B-Schools Pump up Spiritual Quotient in Classrooms', The Economic Times, September 13th 2013

This Case Pack Includes:
 - Abstract
- Case Flyer
- Analysis

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