Friday, August 29, 2008

Dissertation Writing - Reference Citations


Reference Citations

[ Citations, Footnotes, Endnotes, References, Bibliography ]



Whenever you use any words, ideas or information from any source in your dissertation, you must cite and reference those sources to acknowledge the contributions of others in your dissertation work.


Reference Citations may be included in the following forms:

Footnote Referencing in the text at the foot or bottom of the page.
Endnote Referencing or Citation-Sequence System collated and listed chronologically at the end of the text.

Citations serve inter alia the following purposes:

Establish credibility of the research.
Enable assessment of the quality and timeliness of the research.
Acknowledge the contributions of others and sources of information in your dissertation work.
Provide identification of material used in your research or quoted in your dissertation report.
Facilitate inclusion of material of supplemental value.
Intellectual Honesty.

Referencing [Footnotes and Endnotes]

In your dissertation you can do referencing using either Footnotes or Endnotes. A Footnote is a bottom-of-the-page citation, whereas Endnotes are collected at the either at the end of the dissertation or at the end of each chapter. Footnotes and Endnotes serve the same purpose. However, they are two different systems, so be consistent and use one of the two methods throughout your dissertation. The advantage of footnoting is that readers can simply cast their eyes down the page to discover the source of a reference which interests them, but now-a-days Endnotes [References] at the end of the dissertation seem to be preferred.

References are to be sequentially numbered throughout your dissertation starting with 1, indicating the relevant number [note identifier] at the end of the pertinent sentence in the text, superscripted, or in brackets, and amplified by the citation either at the bottom of the page [footnote] or at the end of the dissertation [endnote]. The citation should provide the following bibliographic information:

1. Author(s) surname(s), first name(s) or initials
2. Name of the article, book or journal
3. Editors (if applicable)
4. Publishers Name and Location
5. Volume and Issue Number or month of publication (in case of a journal)
6. Year published
7. ISBN (if applicable)
8. The exact page numbers if your reference is a direct quotation, a paraphrase, an idea, or is otherwise directly drawn from the source. [p, pp – page, pages]

Titles of publications should be italicised, article titles should be enclosed between single quotation marks, and commas must be used to separate each item of the citation and end with a full stop.



1. Wilson B, ‘Systems, Concepts, Methodologies and Applications’, John Wiley and Sons, USA, 1984, p 29

Journal [article]

2. Steiner CJ, ‘Educating for Innovation and Management’, IEEE Transactions on Education, Vol 41, No. 1, Feb 1998, pp 1-7

Conference Proceedings [paper]

3. Sriram S and Karve VW, ‘Systems Cybernetic Re-engineering for Empowering Human Performance: A Soft Systems Dynamics Approach’, Proceedings of the International Conference on Cognitive Systems, Dec 1998, pp 723 – 739.

Internet Citations must include:

1. Name(s) of Author (s) / Editor (s)
2. "Title of Article, Web page or site" in quotation marks.
3. Name of sponsor of site or Title of Journal
4. Date of article, of Web page or site creation and latest update.
5. Access date (the date you accessed the Web page or site).
6. Complete Uniform Resource Locator (URL) in angle brackets.


Karve VW, ‘Ethics, Values and Technology’, in Cognitive Systems Review, July 2008, viewed on 21 August 2008

Some Abbreviations in Referencing

ibid is used in consecutive references that refer to the same work, whether to the same or different pages.

Example: [the digits 1,2,3 are the footnote or reference numbers]

1. Karve V, ‘Appetite For A Stroll’, Sulekha, Chennai, 2008, p 15.

2. ibid [Note that this refers only to page 15 of the above book and not to any other page of that book]

3. ibid, pp 29-34. [This still refers to Karve, but to pages 29-34]

op. cit. is used with non-consecutive references that refer to the same work but to different pages.

loc. cit is used with non-consecutive references that refer to the same work and to the same page or pages of that work.

Examples: [the digits 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 are footnote or reference numbers]

4. Senge P, ‘The Fifth Discipline’, Currency Doubleday, USA, pp 75-76.

5. Twiss BC, ‘Managing Technological Innovation’, Longman, UK, 1974, p 33

6. Senge, op. cit., pp 101-110 [Note that the footnote reference numbers to Senge are not consecutive and that different pages in his work are being cited].

7. Karve V, op. cit., pp 117-120. [Different pages of Karve are being cited]

8. ibid [This refers to Karve, pp 117-120]

9. Twiss, loc.cit. [The reference is to Twiss page 33. Citation of any other page or pages would have entailed the use of op. cit, followed by the page number(s)]

When references are made to two or more books or papers of the same author, the abbreviations op.cit. and loc. Cit. are not used in subsequent citations.

In referring to material contained in other pages of your own dissertation you may use the following abbreviations followed by the appropriate page number:

cf (confer) – compare
cf,ante (confer ante) – compare above
cf, post (confer post) – compare below
supra (above) – cross-reference to preceding matter
infra (below) – cross-reference to succeeding matter
et passim (and here and there) – matter referred is scattered in the dissertation


A bibliography should generally contain all the sources cited in the dissertation and any other important references [books, journals and internet websites] that you have consulted during your research or used in preparing your dissertation. Systematically list the various sources of information consulted or used in your dissertation [books, journals, internet websites, previous research work / dissertations] separately in alphabetical order of authors’ surnames in the same style as references. The distinction between references and bibliography is that whereas references [footnotes and endnotes] cite authority for specific statements, the bibliography gives descriptions of entire works. If a reader wants to consult a work referred to in a footnote, he turns to the bibliography for a full description of that work.

Enough for today. Next, we’ll discuss about the art of literature review for your dissertation.

[to be continued]


Copyright © Vikram Karve 2008
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008





I wrote a dissertation to earn my Masters Degree in Technology [M.Tech.] from IIT Delhi in 1983, and one more for my Post Graduation in Management in 1985. Since then I have supervised and guided dissertations, more than 40, maybe 50, chiefly for Masters Degrees in Engineering and Technology [ME / M. Tech.]. Some students of mine, who I am guiding at the moment, thought it apt than I pen down a few tips on the art of dissertation, so here are I am, writing a few lines, on The Art of Dissertation.

In a nutshell, the Art of Dissertation comprises the following simple steps:

1. Select a dissertation topic in a subject that you are knowledgeable about.

2. Compose a thesis statement that only asks a single question.

3. Employ a research methodology process that is compatible with your dissertation study.

4. Present your data evaluation, analysis and interpretation in an accurate, succinct, logical, well-reasoned and lucid manner and write your dissertation report in a simple, coherent manner conforming to the prescribed style.

5. Conclude your dissertation by answering the thesis statement and, if pertinent, mention corollaries and consequences and possibilities and scope for future research work on the subject.

6. Impart the finishing touches to your dissertation report – definitions, references, bibliography, abstract, summary, acknowledgement, certificate, contents and title pages.


A thesis is a hypothesis or conjecture. The word "thesis" is coined from the Greek derivative of the word meaning "position", and refers to an intellectual proposition. A thesis may be an unproved statement, a hypothetical proposition, put forward as a premise.

A dissertation is a lengthy, formal document that argues in defence of a particular thesis. The term "Dissertation" is derived from the Latin word dissertātiō, meaning "discourse" and is a document that presents the author's research and findings and, in most cases, is submitted in support of candidature for a degree or professional qualification. The research performed to support a thesis must be original and substantial. The dissertation must illustrate this aspect and highlight original contributions.

Your dissertation is your research which demonstrates your understanding of the subject in a clear manner. Therefore, it is imperative you find a topic that gives a clear picture of what you should write. Always ignore ambiguous and vague ideas. And, most importantly, choose an apt title – in fact, the title of your dissertation must fascinate you and entice your audience.


Dissertations are of two types - Empirical and Analytical.

Empirical dissertations make propositions resulting from experiments, involving laboratory or field research.

Analytical dissertations reflect propositions resulting from meticulous, pioneering and innovative analysis of previously published work.


A dissertation report may comprise the following main chapters:

1. Introduction- An overview of the problem; why it is important; a summary of extant work and, most important, the thesis statement.

2. Literature Review-the chapter that summarizes another work related to your topic.

3. Methodology-the part of the paper that introduces the procedures utilized for the research study and the conceptual model.

4. Data Presentation, Evaluation, Analysis and Interpretation -the chapter involves the presentation of computation values using statistical tools to support the claim.

5. Conclusion-the complete summary of the research findings.

Of course, you must include suitable pages for definitions, illustrations and graphs, footnotes and references, bibliography, abstract, summary, acknowledgement, certificates, contents and title pages.


Dissertation writing chiefly involves the introduction, literature review, methodology and analysis chapters, and the others mentioned above. Having selected your dissertation topic, before you begin your dissertation you need to establish your thesis statement first.

A thesis statement is simply a single sentence that provides the main intention of the research. The thesis statement will epitomize the scope of your study, give you an idea of what you want to prove and will pilot your research.

A good thesis statement must satisfy the following four criteria:

1. The thesis statement must state your position.

2. The thesis statement must be able to support a discussion.

3. The thesis statement must be specific about its position.

4. The thesis statement should only have one single idea of discussion.

You must ponder over the following points while writing the introduction to your dissertation:

Is there any need to this dissertation study?
Why do it now? Why here? Why me?
Is the dissertation topic in my “comfort zone” and am I thirsty for knowledge and passionate about it?
Is there a problem? What is it? Why does it need to be solved? Should I approach it empirically or analytically?
What is my hypothesis? Is it original, novel, new, innovative?
Who will benefit from my dissertation work? In what sense will they benefit?
How will my contribution add to “commons”?
What is going to be my methodology? [modalities of data collection, evaluation, analysis, interpretation]
Are there any constraints or limitations in conduct of my proposed dissertation studies and research?

Dear Reader, I am feeling tired now, and will end this first part of my article here, but before I sign off, here is an interesting quote I read somewhere:

“The average Ph.D. thesis is nothing but the transference of bones from one graveyard to another.” – Frank J. Dobie.

[to be continued]


Copyright © Vikram Karve 2008
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.

Monday, August 25, 2008





Here are a few apocryphal Mulla Nasrudin stories I heard somewhere. Read them, have a laugh, carry them with you and let the stories perambulate in your mind till get the true meaning.


Mulla Nasrudin started ‘Art of Living’ classes.

An eager-beaver man-in-a-hurry came to learn The Art of Living and asked Nasrudin, “How long will I take to master the ‘Art of Living’?”

“One year,” said Nasrudin, the teacher, to the prospective student, “If you put in a reasonable amount of effort and practice for two hours every day it will take you one year to master the ‘Art of Living’.”

“One year! That’s too long. I can’t afford to waste one year. I want fast results. I will put in maximum effort, burn the midnight oil and, instead of two, I will practice eight hours every day!” the enthusiastic man-in-a-hurry said.

“In that case it will take you ten years!” Mulla Nasrudin said calmly and walked away.


Once Mulla Nasrudin fell into the sea and was rescued by a man.

Every time the man met him he reminded Nasrudin of his good deed and how Nasrudin should be grateful to him for being alive.

This went on and on, and one day as he saw the man approach, Nasrudin jumped into the sea and began drowning.

“What’s wrong with you, Nasrudin? Why did you jump into the sea? Don’t worry I am coming to save you!” the man shouted as he prepared to dive into the water.

“No. No! Please don’t save me. Let me drown,” Nasrudin pleaded, “It is better for me to drown in the sea than drown under your obligations.”


A co-worker noticed that Mulla Nasrudin was not only computer illiterate, but he didn’t know how to use a mobile phone and was generally quite clueless as far as the latest high-tech gadgets were concerned.

The co-worker kept needling Nasrudin: “In today’s high-tech world you have to be technology-savvy to survive. If you don’t know how to use technology your life is half-wasted.”

The man kept on making fun of the hapless Nasrudin who maintained a stoic silence.

One day when they went for a picnic and were boating in the lake.

“Do you know how to swim?” Nasrudin asked the co-worker.

“No,” the co-worker answered.

“Then your life is fully-wasted, since this boat is sinking,” Nasrudin said, and jumped into the water and swam ashore.


Once upon a time, Mulla Nasrudin was taking a walk on the sea shore and saw a group of people lighting a fire near a boat. Thinking that they were arsonists about to set fire to the boat, Nasrudin rushed there and shouted, “Stop it. Why are you burning the boat?”

“Cool down Mulla, we are not burning our boat,” a seaman said, “We are making hot tar to cover the cracks and perturbations on the underside of the boat and make the surface smooth. That makes the boat go faster.”

Mulla Nasrudin rushed straight home and took one good look at the underside of his donkey. He then tied up his donkey, made a bonfire and melted some tar in a pan. As soon as he brought the red hot smoking tar near the underside of the donkey, the petrified animal broke loose, ran like the wind and disappeared over the horizon at top speed.

“It works all right!” exclaimed Mulla Nasrudin looking appreciatively at the molten tar and wondering where to apply it next.


Monday, August 18, 2008

An Inspiring Life Story


A Soldier’s Story by Omar N. Bradley

[Reviewed by Vikram Waman Karve]

I love reading autobiographies, as there is nothing more inspiring and authentic than learning about the life, times, thoughts and views of a great person in his own words.

It’s a lazy hot Sunday afternoon. I browse through my bookshelves and pick out A Soldier’s Story by General Omar Nelson Bradley, one of my favourite autobiographies, and certainly my all time favourite military autobiography. Come Dear Reader, sit with me for a while, and let’s leaf through and peruse this fascinating book.

General Bradley (1893-1981) known for his calm and resolute leadership and affectionately called the “Soldier’s General” commanded the largest American combat force in history and rose to be the first Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff.

This is a story, not of my life, but of a campaign…I have sought... to tell a story of how generals live and work at their chosen profession the author says at the beginning of his memoirs which focus on his participation in World War II.

Candidly written with remarkable humility in beautiful expressive language it is a wonderful memoir embellished with interesting episodes and lucid characterizations of many renowned military personalities.

In the preface General Bradley says: “In this book I have tried to achieve one purpose: To explain how war is waged on the field from the field command post… To tell a story of how and why we chose to do what we did, no one can ignore the personalities and characteristics of those individuals engaged in making decisions…..Where there are people, there is pride and ambition, prejudice and conflict. In generals, as in all other men, capabilities cannot always obscure weaknesses, nor can talents hide faults…I could not conscientiously expurgate this book to make it more palatable…if this story is to be told, it must be told honestly and candidly…”

The author writes in a wonderfully readable storytelling style and starts his riveting narrative on September 2, 1943, driving to Messina along the north coast of Sicily when, suddenly, General Eisenhower summoned him to tell him that he had been selected to command the American Army in the biggest invasion of the war – the liberation of Europe from the Germans. He then goes back in time and starts his story with vignettes from his early formative days of soldiering.

General Bradley vividly describes how, from General Marshall, he learnt the rudiments of effective command which he himself applied throughout the war: “When an officer performed as I expected him to, I gave him a free hand. When he hesitated, I tried to help him. And when he failed, I relieved him” - isn’t this leadership lesson valid even on today’s IT driven world where delegation seems to be taking a back- seat and excessive monitoring, interference and intervention seem to be on the rise.

Rather than encourage yes-men, ego-massage, sycophancy and groupthink, General Marshal sought contrary opinions: “When you carry a paper in here, I want you to give me every reason you can think of why I should not approve it. If, in spite of your objections, my decision is to still go ahead, then I’ll know I’m right”.

When it was suggested to General Marshall that a corps commander who had an arthritic disability in the knee be sent home rather than be given command of a corps in the field in war, he opined: “I would rather have a man with arthritis in the knee than one with arthritis in the head. Keep him there”.

“For the first time in 32 years as a soldier, I was off to a war” he writes on his assignment overseas in February 1943 to act as Eisenhower’s “eyes and ears” among American troops on the Tunisian front in North Africa.

He vividly describes the chaos after the American defeat at Kasserine, the arrival of Patton on the scene who growled “I’m not going to have any goddam spies running around in my headquarters” and appointed Bradley as his deputy, a defining moment which was the first step of Bradley’s illustrious combat career.

This is easily the best book on Patton’s stellar role in World War II, complementing General Patton’s Memoirs War As I Knew It and Patton: Ordeal and Triumph by Ladislas Farago. Though his admiration for Patton is evident, General Bradley writes about his long association with Patton with fairness and honesty and reveals unique and remarkable facets of Patton’s leadership style and character.

Sample this – Precisely at 7 Patton boomed in to breakfast. His vigour was always infectious, his wit barbed, his conversation a mixture of obscenity and good humour. He was at once stimulating and overbearing. George was a magnificent soldier. (Can there be a better description of General Patton?)

Bradley vividly describes how Patton transformed the slovenly and demoralized II Corps into a fighting fit formation. “The news of Patton’s coming fell like a bombshell on Djebel Kouif. With sirens shrieking Patton’s arrival, a procession of armoured scout cars and half-tracks wheeled into the dingy square opposite the schoolhouse headquarters of II Corps…In the lead car Patton stood like a charioteer…scowling into the wind and his jaw strained against the web strap of a two-starred steel helmet.”

General Bradley writes superbly, as he describes how Patton stamped his personality upon his men and by his outstanding charismatic leadership rejuvenated the jaded, slovenly, worn-out, defeated and demoralized II Corps and transformed it into a vibrant, disciplined, fighting fit organization that never looked back and went on winning victory after victory in most difficult circumstances and against all odds.

There are bits of delightful humour in this book. Commenting on the ingenuity and improvisation abilities of Patton’s staff, the author writes: “…Indeed had Patton been named an Admiral in the Turkish Navy, his aides could probably dipped into their haversacks and come up with the appropriate badges of rank…” Though, at times, the author appears to be in awe of and enamoured by Patton’s larger than life charisma, he is candid, dispassionate and, at times, critical when he describes how he was bewildered by the contradictions in Patton’s character and concludes: “At times I felt that Patton, however successful he was as a corps commander, had not yet learned how to command himself.”

Their techniques of command varied with their contrasting personalities. While the soft-spoken unassuming Bradley preferred to lead by suggestion and example, the flamboyant Patton chose to drive his subordinates by bombast and threats, employing imperious mannerisms and profane expletives with startling originality; and both achieved spectacular results.

Many of us are at a loss for words when asked to qualitatively appraise our subordinates. See how easily General Bradley lucidly evaluates his division commanders, bringing out their salient qualities, in so few words with elegant simplicity and succinctness: “…To command a corps of four divisions, toughness alone is not enough. The corps commander must know his division commanders, he must thoroughly understand their problems, respect their judgment, and be tolerant of their limitations…among the division commanders in Tunisia, none excelled the unpredictable Terry Allen in the leadership of troops…but in looking out for his own division, Allen tended to belittle the role of others… Ryder had confirmed his reputation as that of a skilled tactician…his weakness, however, lay in the contentment with which he tolerated mediocrity…the profane and hot-tempered Harmon brought to the corps the rare combination of sound tactical judgment and boldness… none was better balanced nor more cooperative than Manton Eddy…though not timid, neither was he bold; Manton liked to count his steps carefully before he took them.” Aren’t the author’s understanding, observation and articulation precise and remarkable?

Throughout the book, we find honest, frank and incisive appraisals of characters in this story – superiors, peers and subordinates – most of them renowned and famous personalities. He writes with candour about the problems of command during the planning of the invasion of Europe.

From then on the story gathers speed and moves so captivatingly that one is spellbound as one reads the author fluently narrate the events of the campaign with remarkable preciseness and detail, one realizes what an engaging and compelling book this is – it’s simply unputdownable!

All important events, turning points, and personalities are vividly described with the aid of maps, charts, pictures and appendices; from D Day (the Normandy Invasion) to the surrender of the German forces. Towards the end of his memoirs General Bradley reflects “Only five years before…as a lieutenant colonel in civilian clothes, I had ridden a bus down Connecticut Avenue to my desk in old Munitions Building… I opened the mapboard and smoothed out the tabs of the 43 US divisions now under my command…stretched across a 640-mile front of the 12th Army Group...I wrote in the new date: D plus 335…outside the sun was climbing in the sky. The war in Europe had ended.”

While this autobiography is a “must read” for military men and students of military history, I am sure it will benefit management students and professionals for it is an incisive treatise on Soft Skills encompassing aspects of Leadership, Communications, and most importantly, the Art of Human Relations Management in the extremely complex and highly stressful scenario of War where achievement of success (victory) is inescapably paramount. It is a primer, a treasury of distilled wisdom, on all aspects of management, especially human resource management. One can learn many motivational and management lessons from this book.

Nothing can surpass the experience of learning history first hand from a man who lived and created it rather than a historian who merely records it.

The Art of Leadership is better learnt from studying Leaders, their lives, their writings, rather than reading management textbooks pontificating on the subject and giving how-to-do laundry lists.

The Art and Science of Management owe its genesis and evolution to the military. Modern Management theories, concepts, techniques and practices emerged from the experiences and lessons learnt during World War II [particularly in The United States of America].

It’s ironic isn’t it that the reverse is happening today?

It was the military that gave modern management principles to the civilian corporate world, and today we see military men running to civilian management institutes to “learn” management and acquire the coveted MBA which is the sine qua non and all important passport for entry into the corporate world.

I love reading stories, all kinds of stories, fiction, fantasy, parables, fables, slice of life. I like Life Stories, biographies, particularly autobiographies, as there is nothing more credible, convincing and stimulating than learning about the life, times and thoughts of a great person from his own writings. It’s called verisimilitude, I think.

A Soldier’s Story is a magnificent book. A unique masterpiece, a classic! It’s enjoyable, engrossing, illuminating and inspiring. Dear Reader, I commend this superb book. Read it.


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Moral Development and Ethical Fitness




[An article on Managerial Ethics based on an insightful model to look at various stages of moral development, ethical fitness for job roles and ethical issues faced in work situations]

When recruiting new people, or promoting/appointing persons to senior / sensitive positions, a number of attributes ( Hard Skills and Soft Skills) like Professional Competence, Managerial Proficiency, Domain-specific or Technical skills, and pertinent soft skills comprising leadership, communication, behavioural and emotional aspects, and even physical and medical fitness are assessed, evaluated and given due consideration.

But does anyone evaluate a candidate’s Ethical Fitness before recruitment or appointment?

No, I am not talking about the routine verification of antecedents or background integrity checks. I am talking of assessing Ethical Fitness.

Ethical fitness refers to ensuring that people are in proper moral shape to recognize and address ethical dilemmas. Ensuring Ethical fitness in a proactive manner will result in preventive, rather than corrective, Ethical Management.

Before launching any inquiry pertaining to the concept of Ethical Fitness, it is necessary to explore the moral dimension. Moral development is a prerequisite to ethical behaviour; in fact, a sine qua non for ethical fitness. Kohlberg offers a handy framework for delineating the stage each of us has reached with respect to personal moral development.

Stage 1. Physical consequences determine moral behaviour.

At this stage of personal moral development, the individual’s ethical behaviour is driven by the decision to avoid punishment or by deference to power. Punishment is an automatic response of physical retaliation. The immediate physical consequences of an action determine its goodness or badness. Such moral behaviour is seen in boarding schools, military training academies etc. where physical punishment techniques are prevalent with a view to inculcate the attributes of obedience and deference to power. The individual behaves in a manner akin to the Pavlovian dog.

Stage 2. Individual needs dictate moral behaviour.

At this stage, a person’s needs are the person’s primary ethical concern. The right action consists of what instrumentally satisfies your own needs. People are valued in terms of their utility. Example: “I will help him because he may help me in return – you scratch my back, I will scratch yours.”

Stage 3. Approval of others determines moral behaviour.

This stage is characterized by decision where the approval of others determines the person’s behaviour. Good behaviour is that which pleases or helps others within the group. The good person satisfies family, friends and associates. “Everybody is doing it, so it must be okay.” One earns approval by being conventionally “respectable” and “nice.” Sin is a breach of the expectations of the social order – “log kya kahenge?” is the leitmotif, and conformance with prevailing ‘stereotypes’ the order of the day.

Stage 4. Compliance with authority and upholding social order are a person’s primary ethical concerns.

“Doing one’s duty” is the primary ethical concern. Consistency and precedence must be maintained. Example: “I comply with my superior’s instructions because it is wrong to disobey my senior”. Authority is seldom questioned. “Even if I feel that something may be unethical, I will unquestioningly obey all orders and comply with everything my boss says because I believe that the boss is always right.”

Stage 5. Tolerance for rational dissent and acceptance of rule by the majority becomes the primary ethical concern.

Example: “ Although I disagree with her views. I will uphold her right to have them.” The right action tends to be defined in terms of general individual rights, and in terms of standards that have been critically examined and agreed upon by the whole society. (eg) The Constitution. The freedom of the individual should be limited by society only when it infringes upon someone else’s freedom.

Stage 6. What is right is viewed as a matter of individual conscience, free choice and personal responsibility for the consequences.

Example: “There is no external threat that can force me to make a decision that I consider morally wrong.” An individual who reaches this stage acts out of universal ethical principles.

Moral development is in no way correlated with intellectual development or your position in the hierarchy or factors like rank, seniority, status, success or earnings, salary, material wealth. In the words of Alexander Orlov, an ex-KGB Chief, “Honesty and Loyalty may be often more deeply ingrained in the make-up of simple and humble people than in men of high position. A man who was taking bribes when he was a constable does not turn honest when he becomes the Chief of Police. The only thing that changes in the size of the bribe. Weakness of character and inability to withstand temptation remains with the man no matter how high he climbs.” Ethical traits accompany a man to the highest rungs of his career.

In a nutshell the governing factors pertaining to six stages of Moral Development which determine Ethical fitness may be summarized as:

FEAR – Stage 1
NEEDS – Stage 2

Before we try to delve into exploring how to evaluate Ethical Fitness, let us briefly ponder on the concepts of Ethical Susceptibility and Ethical Vulnerability.

Ethical Susceptibility is your inability to avoid ethical dilemmas. Ethical Susceptibility is environment dependent (on external factors) like, for example, your job, your boss, colleagues and subordinates, or the persons around you, or even the ‘prevalent organizational culture’.

Ethical Vulnerability is your inability to withstand succumbing in the given ethical dilemmas /situations. It is dependent on your internal stage of moral development in the given ethical situation.

Whereas being in an ethical dilemma is not in your control, to act in an ethical manner in the prevailing situation is certainly in your control.

Ethical vulnerability is a measure of the ease with which a man be ethically compromised, especially in an ethically poor climate. In situations where the ethical susceptibility is high, morally strong people (ethically non-vulnerable) should be appointed and conversely, only in jobs/situations where ethical susceptibility is low should ethically vulnerable persons be permitted.

If the environment is not conducive, a person can intellectually reach stage 6 but deliberately remain morally at stage 4 as he may find that he has to sacrifice too much to reach stage 6. This can be particularly seen in most hierarchical organizations where most smart employees make an outward preference of being at stage 3 or 4 (Conformance and Compliance) in order to avoid jeopardizing their careers, even if internally they have achieved higher ethical states. This Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde schizophrenic moral approach is at the heart of many ethical dilemmas people encounter in their professional lives and may result in internal stress due to ethical confusion.

Whenever two individuals at different stages of moral development interact with each other, both of them try to force or manoeuvre the other into their own appreciation of the ethical situation, thus leading to conflict. In a formal hierarchical setup, the players in the chain may not be at similar stages of moral development thereby leading to dissonance in the system. Where the ethical susceptibility is high, morally strong people (less vulnerable) should be appointed and conversely, in only such jobs where ethical susceptibility is low should ethically weak persons be permitted.

What is your stage of personal moral development? Be honest with yourself and recall the decisions you made in recent ethical situations. The six stages are valuable landmarks as they tell you approximately where you are and what changes you will have to make in yourself to move to a higher level of moral development. The ultimate goal is to engage in ethical decision making at stage 6. However, the level that you do reach will depend on your ethical commitment, your ethical consciousness and your ethical competence.

Food for Thought

What do you do if your boss is at a lower stage of moral development than you? Do you masquerade and make pretence of being at the “appropriate” stage of what moral development and practice situational ethics to reap maximum benefits. This Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde schizophrenic ‘situational ethics’ approach may cause your outer masquerade to turn into inner reality. Do you want that to happen? Think about it!

Is there such a thing as Ethical Fitness?

Or is "Ethical Fitness" an oxymoron, not relevant in today's work environment?

Dear Reader, what do you think? Please do let us know your comments.


Copyright © Vikram Karve 2008
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Training Design


[Musings on Training Philosophies]



Training Design is the sine qua non for the efficacy of a Training Programme. In fact, Training Design is the basis, the foundation, the core of all Training. That is why the first thing I do before designing a training programme is to mull over and decide as to which Training Philosophy, the Confucian or the Zen, is relevant to the context in the particular Training Need and Environment.


In the Confucian Training Philosophy the aim of training is to qualify the trainee for a more important job. In other words, Training is inextricably linked with Career Advancement, and since Training is primarily for promotion, if the training is not followed by promotion or career advancement quickly enough, non realization of expectations may create frustration and resentment in the trainee.


In the Zen Training Philosophy the purpose of Training is continuous improvement in performance. [The emphasis here is on “continuous improvement”]. The aim is to improve the present performance of the trainee by focusing on excellence in work and self-development, strengthening the inner urge and enhancing requisite skills for work-excellence and job-satisfaction without the trainee expecting any tangible material or career advancement returns.


And of course, if you want to avoid a formal training programme altogether there is always my favourite good old training philosophy which is breathtaking in its simplicity: “Entrust a man with responsibility and then tell him to get on with the job!” It’s called “On the Job Training” and it always works!


Saturday, August 9, 2008

Fiction Short Story

Click the link below and read my fiction short story - Fragrance - on my creative writing blog:

Vikram Karve

NLP Reprogramming the Mind by Thought Anchoring





The first thing I decided after completing NLP Practitioner Training was to try and apply the concepts I had imbibed on myself. I was a smoker, had tried to quit many times and now I’d try NLP to give up smoking. [The proof of the pudding is in the eating].

I succeeded, gave up smoking in a day, conquered the craving, the urge for smoking, never suffered any “withdrawal symptoms” and quit smoking forever.

Let me describe to you, Dear Reader, that red letter day of my life.

I woke up early in the morning, as usual, made a cup of tea, and the moment I took a sip of the piping hot delicious tea, I felt the familiar crave for my first cigarette of the day.

I had identified my first “Smoking - Anchor” – Tea.

I kept down the tempting cup of tea, made a note of the craving [anchor] in my diary, quickly heated a glass of water in the microwave oven, completed my ablutions, stepped out of my house, and embarked upon my customary morning constitutional brisk walk-cum-jog deeply rinsing and cleansing my lungs with pure refreshing morning air, which made me feel on top of the world. I felt invigorated and happy. I had overcome my craving and not smoked my first cigarette of the day.

Returning from morning walk, I stopped to pick up the newspaper, and spotted my friends ‘N’ and ‘S’ across the road beckoning me for our customary post-walk tête-à-tête with tea and cigarettes at our favorite the tea-stall.

Here lurked my second “Smoking - Anchor” – my smoker friends.

I felt tempted, but I steeled my resolve. I waved out to them, turned away and briskly headed home. They must have thought I’d gone crazy, but it didn’t matter – I had avoided my second cigarette of the day.

That’s what I was going to do the entire day. Be aware, conscious, and identify all the stimuli that triggered in me the urge to smoke – my “smoking anchors” which could be anything, conscious and unconscious, internal and external, tangible or intangible – people, situations, events, feelings, smells, emotions, tendencies, moods, foods, social or organizational trends, practices, norms, peer-pressure.

And then I would conquer and triumph over these stimuli, demolish these negative “smoking-anchors” and establish and reinforce new positive “healthy” anchors using a Technique called Force Field Analysis.

I’ll tell you more about Force Field Analysis later. Dear Reader, read on and see how my first non-smoking day progressed.

After breakfast, I didn’t drink my usual cup of coffee – a strong “smoking anchor” which triggered in me a strong irresistible craving and desperate desire to smoke. I drank a glass of bland milk instead, and thereby averted my third cigarette of the day.

It was nine as I reached my workplace and I hadn’t smoked a single cigarette [or not smoked my customary three cigarettes!]

It was a long day ahead and I had to be cognizant, observe myself inwardly and devise strategies to tackle situations that elicited craving for smoking – recognize and conquer my “smoking anchors”.

Anchoring is a naturally occurring phenomenon, a natural process that usually occurs without our awareness. An anchor is any representation in the human nervous system that triggers any other representation. Anchors can operate in any representational system (sight, sound, feeling, sensation, smell, taste). You create an anchor when you unconsciously set up a stimulus-response pattern.

Response [smoking] becomes associated with [anchored to] some stimulus; in such a way that perception of the stimulus [the anchor] leads by reflex to the anchored response [smoking] occurring.

Repeated Stimulus–Response [SR] action reinforces anchors and this is a vicious circle, especially in the context of “smoking anchors”. The trick is to identify your “smoking anchors”, become conscious of these anchors and ensure you do not activate them. And then transcend from the SR Paradigm to the SHOR Paradigm to set and fire new positive anchors. What’s SHOR? I’ll tell you soon.

The moment I reached office I saw my colleague ‘B’ eagerly waiting for me, as he did every day. Actually he was eagerly waiting to bum a cigarette from me for his first smoke of the day [“I only smoke other’s cigarettes” was his motto! ].

I politely told him I had quit smoking and told him to look elsewhere. He looked at me in disbelief; taunted, jeered and badgered me a bit, but when I stood firm, he disappeared. I had not smoked my fourth cigarette of the day!

I removed from my office my ashtray, my lighter, all vestiges of smoking, declared the entire place a no-smoking zone and put up signs to that effect. The working day began. It was a tough and stressful working day. I was tired, when my boss called me across and offered me a cigarette. I looked at the cigarette pack yearningly, tempted, overcome by a strong craving, desperate to have just that “one” cigarette. Nothing like a “refreshing” smoke to drive my blues away and revitalize me – the “panacea” to my “stressed-out” state! It was now or never! I politely excused myself on the pretext of going to the toilet, but rushed out onto the terrace and took a brisk walk rinsing my lungs with fresh air, and by the time I returned I had lost the craving to smoke and realized that physical exercise is probably the best antidote – a positive “non-smoking” anchor – and, of course, I had not smoked my fifth cigarette of the day!

It was the famous Stoic philosopher Epictetus who said: Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle: Some things are within our control, and some things are not. It is only after you have faced up to this fundamental rule and learned to distinguish between what you can and cannot control that inner tranquility and outer effectiveness become possible.

We often let our feelings set our anchors, govern our lives. We let feelings drive our thoughts, not realizing that thoughts drive actions, actions produce results, and results in turn produce more feelings, reinforce anchors, causing a vicious circle which may ultimately lead to loss of self-control.

Such “feeling-anchors” not totally controllable, as many times feelings are produced by external circumstances beyond your control, and if negative feelings are allowed to drive our thoughts and actions, then undesirable results emanate.

The best solution is to establish “thought-anchors” as drivers of your actions. It is in our control to think positive, good and interesting thoughts. [The happiest person is he or she who thinks the most interesting and good thoughts, isn’t it?]

That’s the essence of NLP. Reprogram your anchors, recondition your mind, control your life, change for the better and enhance your plane of living. This technique works for me, and I’m sure it’ll work for you too. It is so effective, so breathtaking in its simplicity.


Copyright © Vikram Karve 2008
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.