Understanding post-colonial India's culture: A juxtaposition of modern and traditional values

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Kordyban, T.T, Hicks, R.E., & Bahr, M. (2016). Understanding post-colonial India's culture: A juxtaposition of modern and traditional values. In A. Malik & V. Pereira (Eds.), Indian culture and work organisations in transition (pp. 90-101). Oxon: Routledge.

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© 2016 Ashish Malik and Vijay Pereira

The right of Ashish Malik and Vijay Pereira to be identified as the authors of the editorial material, and of the authors for their individual chapters, has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patent Act 1988.


978-1-138-65007-7 (hbk), 978-1-315-62544-7 (ebk)


Extract: Three main historical socio-economic factors influenced the Indian organisations before economic liberalisation in the 1990s: the caste system, the British colonisation and post independence socialism (Gopalan and Rivera, 1997; Amba-Rao et al., 2000; Pio, 2007). However, amid this background after the Indian economy opened up to the world, there was a move towards transparency, professionalism and less bureaucracy (Pio, 2007). Nevertheless, India remains a country of paradoxes. Despite a majority of the population being rural, agrarian, illiterate and poor, India also possesses the largest group of skilled professionals in the world (Panda and Gupta, 2007). In a colloquium to discuss India from a business perspective for multinational corporations, a panel comprised of Indian industry captains, academics and social workers noted that India is a country where contradictions coexisted peacefully, such as a spirit of cooperation and competition; lack of discipline and readiness to follow processes; chaos and order (Jain et al., 2006). On the other hand, Jain et al. also noted that some of the virtues that Indians had were resilience, patience, entrepreneurial spirit, being innovative and being passionate about what they do. Economic liberalisation brought about changes to several social processes in India (Bhatnagar and Rajadhyaksha, 2001; Oza, 2001; Sonawat, 2001; Patel and Permentier, 2005; Medora, 2007; Namasivayam and Zhao, 2007). Scholars and researchers proposed three possible consequences of globalisation: cultural homogenisation, cultural polarisation or cultural hybridisation (Conrad and Poole, 2012). The cultural homogenisation perspective was that cultures would eventually lose their rich diversity and form a standardised culture largely based on American culture (Pieterse, 1996; Conrad and Pool, 2012).

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