An Integral Approach to management and human development based on the spiritual vision of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother with an emphasis on its application to various domains of knowledge and life.
The principles described above apply equally to organizational as well as to human development. Evolution of an organization has two dimensions, horizontal and vertical. The horizontal evolution is growth at the same level while the vertical is the quantum leap to a higher level. Pursuit of endless growth at the same level leads to saturation and shuts off the organization from the creative energies of the deeper and higher levels of consciousness and life. As a result, all the negative laws of life, like the law of diminishing returns and the law of entropy, begin to throttle the organization. So for sustainable growth, when the organization reaches the point of saturation at a particular level, it has to shift its focus of growth to a higher level.
The key to this vertical growth lies in reorienting the goals of the organization, at the appropriate stages of the collective evolution, to deeper, higher and more inclusive ideals, values and aims. For example, efficiency, productivity, profit, shareholder value and diversification are the bottom line values at the physical economic level. Quality, customer service, innovation, technological progress, research & development, knowledge and skills development of the employees are values at a higher vital-mental level. Ethics, social responsibility, ecology, employee well-being, stakeholder values, which include not only shareholders, but also customers, suppliers, employees and the community, are a still higher set of values at the moral level. The Hellenic ideal of a Sound Body in a Sound Mind, with an emphasis on the development of the intellectual, ethical and aesthetic mind of the individual and the community are another set of values at a still higher mental-ethical-aesthetic level. And finally the ideals of the integral approach stretches towards the highest spiritual level. The leadership challenge here is to apply the principle of conscious attention, which we have discussed earlier, and shift the goals of the organization to higher and higher levels at appropriate stages of its evolution.
The core principle of modern ecology, which is in attunement with the Laws of Nature, will be an important and integral part of the integral approach to Management. Integrating the human and organizational objectives and practices with the laws of universal Nature, is part of the yogic way of life. But the integral approach will aim at not only a scientific and pragmatic understanding of and integration with the ecology of physical nature, but also an aesthetic and spiritual understanding of and integration with the totality of universal Nature in all its dimensions — physical, psychological and spiritual. In the Integral view, a human being is part of Nature not only physically but also psychologically and spiritually. Just like our bodies are made of the physical and biological energies of universal Nature, our psychological and spiritual energies are part of the corresponding energies of universal Nature. So the aim of ecology in this perspective will be to attune integrally the inner being and outer life of the human being with the inner and outer laws of Nature.
The highest goal of the integral path is Integral Prosperity. Modern economic systems and sciences like business or management are concerned mainly with outer prosperity. This is a legitimate aim of economics and for a business organization, which is part of the economic life of the community. But the main problem here is that outer prosperity is pursued rather exclusively and at the expense of the inner well being and progress of the individual and the collectivity. The integral approach to Management will strive to correct this imbalance; it will aim towards integral prosperity, which means inner as well as outer prosperity.
Inner prosperity means a rich and harmonious development of all the faculties and powers of the human being from the lowest physical to the highest spiritual. The prosperity of modern nations and the corporate world is the result of a highly developed scientific, technological and pragmatic mind of the community expressing itself in the outer life. Development of this part of the human mind is a part of the ideal of integral prosperity. But in the modern economic and corporate culture, the other, higher faculties like the ethical, aesthetic and spiritual do not find sufficient opportunity and encouragement for self-expression. The integral approach will give equal opportunity and encouragement to the development and self-expression of these higher faculties. This will lead to a higher quality of corporate life, which will be suffused with the creative vision and values of the ethical, aesthetic and spiritual powers of the human being. Thus in this approach to Management, the inner development and fullness of the individual will be the foundation, and the outer progress and prosperity will be a spontaneous expression of this inner progress and fullness.