Business and Governance in India: Top Managers’ Career Patterns and Action Orientation in a Changing Political Economy

Business and Governance in India: Top Managers? Career Patterns and Action Orientations in a Changing Political Economy brings together experts from the fields of organisational sociology and the critical governance studies to develop a research perspective that rests upon two assumptions:
(1) the rise of a transnational economic elite as a worldwide phenomenon is also taking place in India and
(2) the proposition that there is a transnational elite which shares similar neoliberal principles with regards management, organisation and the economy.
The role of economic elites however, has to be seen in terms of the wider socio-political context. In other words, public policy has played an important role in anchoring the recent pro-business orientation of the state as a function of India?s embeddedness in the global development discourse. The collaboration between the research teams of Professor Markus Pohlmann (Heidelberg University) and Professor Amit Prakash (Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi) will uniquely combine theoretical, empirical and practical knowledge about the sociology of management and the wider development process. Our collaboration will lay the ground for an investigation to test the two, above mentioned, assumptions and would lay the basis to generate important data to broaden comparative research on Asia and Europe as well as deepen the theoretical discussion about the ?spirit of capitalism?, the debates on its diffusion and the interplay between economic elites and structures of governance.
Building upon the existing structures and research agendas on both sides, the cooperation period between Heidelberg University and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) will also be used to develop a proposal for a future research project on collective patterns of knowledge on management and governance.
Concrete components of the project include the following steps which will be pursued jointly

(1)   Training young scholars in methods, theory and analytical skills that combine perspectives from governance studies and organisational sociology.
(2)   Joint elaboration of the research questions and designing of a common analytical framework.
(3)   Collection of data on Indian top managers and content analysis of business magazines in India and Europe.
(4)   Development of a network of scholars in India and Germany in the area of comparative sociology and critical governance studies.
(5)   Integrating and incorporating comparative analysis into research and teaching curricula to strengthen a global perspective on global issues. 

Partner in India: Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India, Prof. Amit Prakash

Timing: February 2015 - January 2016
Latest publication
Jivanta Schoettli and Markus Pohlmann (2017): A “New” Economic Elite in India: Transnational and Neoliberal?, South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal 15: 1-24, link:


Project lead

Prof. Dr. Markus Pohlmann

Dr. Jivanta Schoettli, MSc (London School of Economics)