13. HURCONOMICS: APPLICATIONS AND EXERCISES – Hurconomics for Talent Management: The Creation of a Business-driven HRD Missionary


Hurconomics: Applications and Exercises


In this chapter, I have attempted to present some cases and problems relating to the application of hurconomics. I would encourage you to solve these problems and generate more examples. No solutions are presented—I hope that you will be encouraged to think of other related problems and issues.

Try to convert the situations discussed here into financial terms and justify your answers.

The TVRLS formulae on R-COT and O-COT, outlined in this book, have been found useful in making various calculations. They also enhance one’s sensitivity to time and the ROI on human talent. With these measures, you can now compute the following:

  • ROI on performance appraisals
  • Cost of a conflict
  • Cost of coming late to a meeting
  • Cost of a meeting
  • Benefits of a meeting
  • Benefits of conflict resolution
  • Cost of coffee breaks
  • Benefits of a coffee break
  • How to minimize the costs of breaks and maximize the benefits of breaks
  • Cost of birthday celebrations
  • Cost of recruitment
  • Cost of a telephone call
  • Cost of having a medical bill settled by the accounts department
  • Cost of trust or lack of trust
  • Cost of an argument
  • Cost of openness and the returns on the same
  • Benefits of an OCTAPACE culture
  • Cost of hiring a taxi
  • Cost of filling a form — the Munnabhai MBBS type of form (‘Kya yeh form bharna zaroori hai?’)
  • Real cost of a book
  • Real cost of fish
  • Real cost of a car drive and driver

The following are some examples of applications.

Application M: Manufacturing

Mallavally International Pvt Ltd (MIPL), a watch manufacturing company, currently generates a turnover of 1,200 crore and intends to multiply five times in the next three years. Its people costs are estimated at 120 crore. The general manager heading the Design Watches department carries a CTC of 40 lakh. There are eight HODs of the level of deputy general manager reporting to him, who look after materials, quality, maintenance, marketing, personnel, finance, IT and logistics, and planning. Each of the DGMs is in the salary bracket of 20 lakh to 25 lakh and, being in the private sector, has made limited investment in community services. The CTC of the DGMs is calculated at 24 lakh on average. The company has prescribed 2,400 working hours to be put in by each employee in a year as the managers all follow a five-day week. Every manager gets 25 days off in a year if she/he logs in 2,400 hours of work in that year.

  • M1: What do you think is the cost of a one hour meeting if the GM decides to convene a meeting of all HODs to discuss the ceiling on personal use of company cars by employees? What is the R-COT and what is the O-COT?
  • M2: How much does a 30-minute telephone conversation between the GM and DGM (marketing) located 1,500 km away cost (assuming that the telephone call costs Re 1 a minute)? What is the R-COT and what is the O-COT? How do the figures compare with the DGM having to travel all the way to meet the GM for an hour?
  • M3: If the GM comes 30 minutes late for the production meeting and all the HODs are on time and have to wait for his arrival, what do you think it costs? What is the R-COT and what is the O-COT?
  • M4: If two of the DGMs like each other’s company, and spend an average of about 60 minutes together everyday for a cup of tea and a chat, what is the annual cost of their interaction? What is the R-COT and what is the O-COT?
  • M5: Two of the HODs do not get along well with each other and they have been found to send notes to each other on even trivial matters. Often the GM has had to intervene. In one year, it was found that there were 150 such email transactions recorded between them. In one of the emails, the DGM (materials) had even complained that he spent 30 minutes every day simply responding to email queries raised by the finance department. The DGM (finance) in turn said that he also wasted the same amount of his time examining the requests of the DGM (materials), analysing them and educating him. The GM had eight meetings with both of them, each lasting for an hour to sort out their issues. What is the total minimum annual cost of this conflict between the two DGMs to the company? What is the R-COT and what is the O-COT?
  • M6: What is the opportunity cost (or opportunity lost cost) of the conflict between the DGM (finance) and DGM (materials)?
  • M7: It was felt by the GM and DGM (HR) that both the HODs—DGM (finance) and DGM (materials)—would benefit and their conflicts would decrease if they attended a programme on conflict management together. They were sponsored for a training programme in conflict management at MDI, Gurgaon for five days. The programme fee is 40,000 and the travel cost for each of them is 20,000. After how many weeks will the company start getting its return on training investment or costs, assuming that the conflict is reduced by 50 per cent after the programme? (Returns will begin after the costs are recovered.)
  • M8: What is the annual opportunity cost or R-minus attributable to the GM, if he comes late for production meetings 20 per cent of the time in a year and gives the excuse that he is delayed by his rounds of the plant, while all the other HODs always come on time?
  • M9: What is the opportunity cost of the daily production meetings if the plant has a record of meeting every day for 90 minutes on average, and the plant is shut down in a year only for two weeks for annual maintenance, during which time no production meetings are held?
  • M10: If the DGM (materials), has to travel with the DGM (finance) for two days to meet a vendor and negotiate the cost of packaging material and finalize the deal, what should be the minimum cost differential he should be able to raise just to meet the opportunity cost of his visit (cost of return journey and the meeting time included)?
  • M11: What is the likely O-COT of any of the DGMs falling sick and not being able to attend office for a week?
  • M12: What is the R-COT of a 10-minute smoking break taken by each of the two DGMs who need to go out for a smoke at least three times a day? If this company has a policy of not allowing its employees to bring cigarettes inside and they have to leave the premises each time they need to smoke (and moving out needs 10 additional minutes), what is the R-COT and what is the O-COT?
  • M13: If the accounts department has been found to take an average of 10 minutes to process each of the bills and the accounts manager’s CTC is 12 lakh, what is the maximum bill amount she/he can pass without any objections?
  • M14: What is the additional cost to the company for questioning a medical bill for 200? Make your own assumptions about the time involved in questioning the bill and initiating a transaction on the bill with the claimant of the bill.
  • M15: What are the real processing costs of an LTC request if each such job needs on average 15 minutes of the accounts manager’s time?
  • M16: What is cost per minute of the receptionist whose CTC is 2.40 lakh?
  • M17: What is the O-COT of the receptionist if she attends to 180 calls a day?
  • M18: An analysis of all the telephone calls made and received in the office generated the data set out in Table 13.1. What observations can you make on the basis of Table 13.1?
  • M19: If the company decides to switch over to mobile phones (take the current mobile-phone rates from your database), by how much would the cost increase or decrease, compared to the cost on the basis of the details in Table 13.1?

Application I: IT Company

Infotractors is an IT firm with an annual turnover of 600 crore. A large project is being handled by team X for an American corporation. The team consists of six software engineers and one team leader. The CTC of the team leader is 12 lakh and that of the software engineers ranges between 4 lakh and 8 lakh, with an average of 6 lakh. The group CTC is 48 lakh and the duration of the project is four months, with a projected income of 12 lakh. The penalties for delay are 2 per cent of the cost per week, after a grace period of four weeks. During the project’s execution, every time a software engineer leaves the project it takes two weeks for replacement and results in a delay of one person-week. A team leader leaving in the middle of the project has been found to cause an average delay of six person-weeks. The team leader coordinates with the project commission agency, and if she/he leaves in the middle of the project it has been found to cost four person-weeks of delay. A person-week delay means four days’ delay. There is also a 2 per cent bonus paid by the contractor for every week of the project’s early completion.


TABLE 13.1 Time spent every day by various categories of employees on phone calls


Please calculate the following costs:

  • I1: (Cost of wrong recruitment and placement): If one of the software engineers is found to lack the required skills for the project in the second week after implementation, and the team leader decides to replace her/him with another person and requests the HR for replacement with a suitably skilled software engineer, how much has the wrong placement or recruitment cost the company?
  • I2: (Cost of interpersonal skills): Two of the software engineers have been found to lack communication and interpersonal skills and to question everything. It has been found that they slow down the work by 10 per cent because of these shortcomings. If they take an average of 30 minutes per transaction to follow instructions from the project leader, and there are 28 instruction meetings planned for the project’s execution, what is the cost of the interpersonal incompetency of the two software engineers to the company? Calculate both the R-COT and O-COT.
  • I3: A team-building workshop was held prior to the project’s execution, and the workshop cost was 6 lakh, including the fee and other costs, and excluding the time costs of the seven members of the team. How many days of project advantage should they get, to pay for the cost of the workshop? If the advantage due to project induction is estimated as two weeks of the project period (the projects gets completed two weeks early), what are the gains to the company because of the workshop?
  • I4: If research shows that with five days of planning, the accuracy of planning the execution time increases, what is the advantage to the company?
  • I5: If the weekly briefing of the client has been found to increase the speed of execution by 5 per cent, and there are weekly briefings to the team for one hour every week, calculate the cost and benefit of these briefings in financial terms.
  • I6: If a mid-course 360° feedback to team members of the project has been found to increase the team work and speed by one hour a day, the 360° feedback costs 5000 per person and the feedback workshop is for half a day, calculate if it is worthwhile to conduct a mid-course 360° feedback workshop.
  • I7: If the experience gained by the team reduces the project execution time by three weeks for a similar project (after the completion of the first project), estimate the additional retention fee that can be paid to each of the team members without cutting into the profits of the project by more than 25 per cent.

Application BR: Bank and Rewards

Most CEOs do not recognize to what extent small favours can motivate their employees. Most CEOs and HR chiefs often worry that if they give incentives and rewards to a few employees they have to make them available to all. This is often a wrong assumption.

Twenty-five years ago, when my colleagues at IIMA, Professor N. R. Sheth and Dr Govindarajan were studying the organizational structure of nationalized banks, the branch managers said that they did not have the freedom to spend even 500 a year to sponsor their employeess’ training at any local association. In 2007, when I was studying a private sector bank I was told the same. A branch manager told me that he had an expenditure allowance of a paltry 150 at a time, a pathetic situation. The branch manager had 20 employees working under him and had done business worth 20 crore. He earned a profit for the bank to the tune of 60 lakh and he did not have the freedom to spend over 150. When I asked him how often he could invite his customers to a party or a social get-together, he said he could do no such thing. Marketing expenses were to be incurred only by the marketing department. He needed to write to the head office for permission for the slightest unauthorized expense. He also said that getting permission was difficult as the application first had to go to the business development unit, then get ratified by the marketing department, then go to the planning department for approval, and then to the CFO who forwarded it with his recommendation to the chairperson, who finally approved it. He said even small expenditures like 500 for a party needed approval from the top.

  • BR1: Let us assume that there are five people who read the note by the branch manager for approval. The branch manager and his officer take one hour to draft the request, and on average each officer takes about 15 minutes to read it, make up her/his mind and put in her/his recommendations. The chairperson takes five minutes to pass it. How much is the R-COT and O-COT of processing a request for 5,000 from the branch manager? Assume that the average salary of the various officers is 12 lakh and the O-COT is five times the R-COT in this bank.

    This bank can easily save three to four person-hours of senior officerss’ time simply by authorizing them to use 5,000–10,000 for client entertainment, sponsoring officers for training, celebrations and miscellaneous activities. They can also be authorized to use this money for celebrating small successes and recognizing the good efforts of managers whenever they accomplish something, like getting a new account. The R-COT of processing the request works out to be more than 2,000 and the O-COT of the processing time is 10,000. Without any loss to the organization, each branch manager can be authorized to spend 10,000 without having to seek approvals. The benefits are likely to be great. A few motivated employees or motivated customers can recover several times the investment.

    CEOs and HRD managers should encourage innovations on the part of their managers through rewards, recognition, autonomy and delegation. Centralization costs much more than we imagine. Decentralization and autonomy enthuse people and bring out the best in them. Of course, there should be systems to ensure that accountability is maintained at all levels.

  • BR2: The bank has decided to adopt ATMs. It has been found that on average, an ATM can take about 200 transactions a day for deposits and cash dispensing. The cost of the ATM is 10 lakh and its service period is eight years. The cost of feeding currency is about 50 per day. If the bank wants to rationalize its workforce to increase customer contact for business development, how many employees from its branches can be released for business development purposes? The bank has 400 branches and 2,000 employees. The average CTC of an employee is 4.2 lakh. There are 1,600 employees working in various branches and 400 employees in other offices, including the head office. Fifty per cent of the branches have been identified as rural branches where no ATMs are used.
  • BR3: Banks are facing a highly competitive situation in marketing their products and services. Bank X has decided to train all its staff in marketing and customer relationship skills. Studies from other banks have indicated that there is a clear 15 per cent increase in business as a result of training the staff in marketing and customer management skills. If the branch manager of Branch Y of the bank with 20 crore of business (deposits and advances combined) and 20 staff members decides to organize a programme for all the staff over weekends for five days, and an agency is willing to offer the programme for 10,000 per candidate (including all training material, the training room and lunch for the five days), what is the R-COT and O-COT of the training programme? Will the R-COT justify the returns?

Application E: Cost of Emotions

I have a friend who spends sleepless nights whenever he loses his temper with any of his employees. He has been told to calm down. He says that he has improved his tolerance level a lot, but as he grows older he expects the younger generation to be more efficient than his generation and he finds it’s the reverse. This makes him angrier.

He describes the way he gets angry:

First, I notice that a fellow has made a mistake. I expect him to point it out to me. I ask him for some information about the issue where I sense he has made a mistake. He offers an explanation but does not point out the mistake. I then point out the mistake made and he becomes defensive. As I sense him becoming defensive, my anger begins to flare up. I say things that I am sure will hurt him. I even say things like I will show him the door the next time he hides the facts from me. I shout and everyone can hear me. The moment I discover that others are listening, I raise my voice even more and my anger continues for a longer time. I keep explaining and justifying the reasons for my anger. I am not the same person the rest of the day. It leaves me bitter and I keep thinking about it that night and even the next morning. The next morning, I want to explain myself coolly to the other person, but the damage is already done. Although everyone knows that I do not let these things fester and I forget people’s mistakes, the bitterness remains.

  • E1: Calculate the cost of this person’s anger. If his CTC is 24 lakh and everyone else’s CTC is about half this amount, what does he get in return for the investment of his best energy?
  • E2: An HR study of 70 work teams from diverse industries found that teams usually shared their moods (whether they were good or bad) within two hours. It was also found that their moods greatly influenced their work output. If Mr X is a negative individual, he looks at things in a negative way. But he usually begins the day by telling a funny story at his workplace. The stories could be complaints about politicians, taxi drivers, the canteen food, the security people, and so on. The stories, though funny, are actually rather depressing. Sometimes, other team members become depressed listening to him. He has been found to influence the group output negatively by at least half an hour a day, though it is often felt that it could be much more. The tragedy is that most team members quite enjoy his stories and miss him if he does not come to the office. There are seven members in his workplace who share the room with open cabins. He has often been found to pass on emails highlighting the ‘bad’ events occurring in society, and jokes about the top management, figures of authority or politicians.

    Identify the total productive person-hours lost because of this individual. (250 working days × half an hour every day × 6 individuals = 750 person-hours. O-COT will be four to ten times this, or 3,000 hours to 7,500 hours).

  • E3: A Yale study indicates that there is a direct link between the percentage of the time people feel positive emotions at their workplace and the likelihood of their continuing in their jobs. Cheerfulness and warmth spread easily. If you have a boss who smiles, you feel good whenever you see her/him. If she/he makes it a point to wish you and your team ‘Good morning!’ every day, you probably feel energized around her/him, and if you add even 5 per cent extra energy to your work what is the benefit of her/his daily one-minute appearance to wish everyone a good morning with a smile? There are 30 people in her/his team.
  • E4: American researchers have found that every 1 per cent improvement in the service climate results in a 2 per cent increase in revenue. If a hospital spends 10,000 per nurse and there are 500 nurses in a 50 crore revenueearning hospital, and this results in a service climate improvement of 5 per cent, estimate the revenue earnings of the hospital.
  • E5: Each project leader has a credibility quotient (CQ). Your CQ decides the effectiveness of your team. How do you measure and enhance the CQ of your project leaders and managers?
  • E6: The idea that at work you have an opportunity to do what you do best every day is related to employee turnover and customer satisfaction (a Gallup study of 1,98,000 employees). Only 20 per cent of employees in large organizations feel that their strengths are in play every day (Marcus Buckingham). Most organizations operate at 20 per cent of their capacity. Estimate the loss of capacity utilization in your company. Make your own assumptions.

    Investment in employees has been found to be related to stock market performance of the firm. HR quality index has been found to be related to the financial and market performance of firms. HR practices and employee attitudes are found to influence service levels and the market performance of firms.

  • E7: How is interpersonal, personal and group chemistry formed? How does it change? How does one make it more productive? How do we reduce the adjustment time of groups?

Application HR: HR Managers

The results from a self-renewal workshop for HR managers suggest that they spend (on average) 2,400 hours per year in various activities. Table 13.2 depicts the time spent by an HR manager who heads the HR function of a multinational firm (with a 500 crore turnover), employing 500 technical people. He wishes to double the revenue in the next three years. How do you think he should spend his time? Identify value-adding items and non-value adding items. His CTC is 60 lakh, and he is assisted by a team of three HR professionals, one looking after recruitment and induction, another looking after training and the third looking after HR administration, including PMS and rewards.


TABLE 13.2 Time spent by HR manager on various activities


  • HR1: Redesign the HR role to make it more productive by focusing on value-adding activities of HR managers.
  • HR2: There are various matrices and measures of HR efficiency. Becker, et al. (2001) have identified the following measures:
    • Absenteeism rate by category and job performance
    • Accident costs
    • Accident safety ratings
    • Average employee tenure by performance levels
    • Average time of dispute resolution
    • Benefit costs as a percentage of payroll or revenues
    • Cost of HR-related litigation
    • Cost of injuries
    • Cost per grievance
    • Cost per hire
    • Cost per trainee hour
    • HR department budget as a percentage of sales
    • HR expenses per employee
    • Incidence of injuries
    • Interviews per offer ratio
    • Lost time due to accidents
    • Measures of cycle time for HR processes
    • Number of applicants per recruiting source
    • Number of stress-related illnesses
    • Number of training days per year
    • Offer to acceptance ratio
    • Percentage of payroll spent in training per year
    • Percentage of performance appraisals completed on time
    • Response time per information request
    • Time needed to orient new employees
    • Time taken to fill an open position
    • Turnover costs

Identify the most appropriate measures from those presented here for which R-COT and O-COT concepts can be applied. Discuss them in your group and justify your answers.

Application CT: Cost of Commuting

In cities like Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi, a large number of employees commute long distances to their offices. It is estimated that on average, every employee spends 1 hour 15 minutes to commute from home to office, longer if she/he lives in the suburbs and has to commute to the business centre.

  • CT1: What is the R-COT and O-COT of a manager of a company who takes (on average) 75 minutes to travel to office and another 75 minutes to return home? What is the cost of energy levels if, were the employee to live nearer to the office and had a 15-minute drive, her/his work output can increase by 10 per cent a day? Assume the CTC of the manager to be 15 lakh. She/he is expected to work for 2,000 hours a year.
  • CT2: If the employee asks for a raise in house rent allowance so that she/he can live nearer to the office, how much monthly allowance can be given to her/him without any loss of income to the company?
  • CT3: If 70 employees of a company out of a 100 live in the Bandra-Kurla area in Mumbai and agree to work for an extra hour when the office shifts closer to their place of living, how much additional rent can the company pay to hire an office in the Bandra-Kurla area? Assume that, of the remaining employees, the place does not make any difference to 20, and 10 people live close to the Fort area, where the office is currently located. The average CTC of all employees is 10 lakh and it is a financial services company.
  • CT4: What are your suggestions for top-level managers who have no alternative but to commute for two hours a day to office and back? There are 260 working days in a year. What are the time-utilizing, value-adding activities you can suggest for those who are driven to work in their own car, as opposed to those who travel by public transport?

Application Int: Cost of Interruptions at Work1

An interruption is an unexpected encounter initiated by another person that interrupts the flow and continuity of an individual’s work and brings her/his work to a temporary halt (Jett and George 2003). There are four types of interruptions: intrusions, breaks, distractions and discrepancies. Each of them has negative and positive consequences.

  • Intrusions
    • Negative consequences: Insufficient time to perform time-sensitive tasks, stress and anxiety associated with heightened time pressure, and/or a disruption in a person’s total involvement in the task being performed
    • Positive consequences: Informal feedback and information-sharing are unlikely to occur through any other means
  • Breaks
    • Negative consequences: Procrastination and/or significant amounts of time spent relearning essential details of the work being done
    • Positive consequences: Alleviation of fatigue or distress, rhythm and pace of work enhancing job satisfaction and performance, and/or opportunities for incubation of ideas on creative tasks
  • Distractions
    • Negative consequences: Mediocre performance when the person’s work is complex and demanding, and requires full attention; when the person has particular traits that make her/him more vulnerable or sensitive to distractions (for example, lack of stimulus screening capabilities or a Type A personality).
    • Positive consequences: Enhanced performance when the distraction helps filter out other irritating environmental stimuli and/or increases stimulation levels on routine tasks
  • Discrepancies
    • Negative consequences: An intense paralyzing negative emotional reaction or continuous automatic processing of task-related information, if the discrepancy is suppressed or denied
    • Positive consequences: Mindful and controlled processing of information and/or the recognition of the need for change and stimulation of action

Managers are supposed to add value through decision-making, strategic thinking, intellectual ideas, suggestions, problem solving, goal setting and other such tasks. Tasks and activities can be classified as leadership activities, transformational activities, and transactional or execution activities. The transformational activities are future-building and trend-setting activities; the transactional activities are bread-earning or sustenance activities. It has been found that in some organizations where there is a ‘meeting’ culture, the frequency of interruptions is high.

  • INT1: Raman is the CEO of a company providing software design services for logistics applications. He normally undertakes projects that involve designing software. He has 120 software engineers in his team. His billings touched 100 crore in the previous year. However, most of the ideas about potential clients have been found to flow from him. He prefers to work on his own. He is energized once he starts working on a project and likes no interruptions. He works 14 hours a day as the owner of the company. He has a new secretary. One morning, she gave him the following data about work interruptions during the previous week:

    Number of external telephone calls received = 237 (average duration of a call = 2 minutes 30 seconds)

    The break-up of the external telephone calls is as follows:

    • Follow-up calls from current customers = 25 calls (duration of each call = 5 minutes)
    • Current customerss’ complaints = 7 calls (duration of each call = 7 minutes)
    • Potential customer calls directed by other staff = 37 calls
    • Potential customer calls (direct calls) = 57 calls
    • Potential customer calls directed by Raman to other staff = 43 out of 57 calls (duration of each call = 2 minutes 15 seconds)
    • Miscellaneous unidentified calls = 36

    Here is some additional information on other interruptions:

    • Number of unexpected visitors = 17
    • Average time taken by unexpected visitors = 5 minutes per visitor
    • Number of internal calls = 75 calls (duration of each call = 1 minute 37 seconds.)
    • Number of meetings organized every day = 3
    • Average duration of each meeting during the week = 75 minutes
    • Miscellaneous interruptions = 37 times
    • Total duration of the interruptions = 2 hours 45 minutes
    • Unplanned coffee breaks = 12
    • Time taken for breaks = 12 minutes per break
    • Revenue earnings attributable to Raman last year = 15 crore
    • CTC of Raman = 18 lakh
  • INT2: Raman has quite often been found to complain that if he were to be allowed to work all by himself without interruptions, he would simply double the business. Is he right? Under what conditions could he be right?
  • INT3: What is Raman’s R-COT and O-COT?
  • INT4: How do you compare the O-COT computed using the TVRLS formula with the O-COT using the direct earnings and dividing by the actual number of hours worked [15 crore ÷ (14 hours × 300) = 4,200 hours]?
  • INT5: On seeing the data for himself, Raman commissioned a study of interruptions in his company. The study indicated that on average there were 27 interruptions reported by his engineers, of which nine came from their bosses, 12 from their clients, and the rest from the engineers themselves. They classified 40 per cent of these interruptions as unproductive interruptions. The time loss estimated due to each interruption was 7 minutes. Calculate the R-COT and O-COT of interruptions in this company. The people cost (CTC) of all employees put together is 25 crore.

Application Procrast: Procrastination at the Workplace

Procrastination is a common phenomenon in many places. The extent to which it does damage to people and work is often underestimated. Procrastination is an outcome of personality traits, early socialization, task difficulty, situation variables and a number of other factors. Where there are good HR systems like performance planning and continuous review, incentives, training and other HR practices can reduce procrastination.

Procrast 1:  Prepare a research project to be conducted in your organization to study some critical categories of employees where procrastination has direct, demonstrable revenue losses. Justify the ROI on your research in terms of the R-COT and O-COT of those involved in this research study.

Application D-I: Divisiveness and Integration

To divide means to separate into parts. It also means to make people disagree. Division refers to the existence of disagreement or difference between two or more groups. A divisive mind is the tendency or mindset of a person to assign to herself/himself or other people a group identity (for example, identity based on caste, community, language, profession, occupation, culture, batch, nationality,) and anchor subsequent behaviours and decisions on the basis of such identity.

Individuals with a divisive mindset may be called divisive people just as people with an internal locus of control are called internals. Divisive individuals often attribute group characteristics to divide people, causing disagreement and competition among the groups. By its very nature, division has the potential to create competition and conflict rather than collaboration. Collaboration does not require divisiveness. It is a mindset that perhaps all of us have. Some thrive on it, and promote it, but others are either beneficiaries or victims of it. The sum of results arising out of divisiveness is likely to be less than those obtainable without it or with integrative mindsets. While divisiveness in the short term benefits some people, in the long run it hinders overall growth, consumes a lot of resources and increases overheads and transaction/process costs.

To integrate means to combine parts into a whole. It also means to accept someone within a group. An integrative personality is intended to depict a constellation of behaviours that strives towards inclusion, integration and cooperation, and an emphasis on the whole and on benefits to larger groups and entities. A divisive mind gives importance to parts or small groups, while an integrative mind focuses on the whole, strives to build the whole and use the strengths of the whole.

The term integrative personality is preferred here to integrative mind, to communicate the desirability of developing constellations of qualities that promote integration in society. A divisive mind is a mindset that can be changed, while an integrative personality is one that can be developed with consciousness and training.

D-I:  Divisiveness is the cost and integration is the investment. Justify this argument with examples from your personal life. Under what conditions does division become an investment or earn high returns, and under what conditions does it add to overheads?


Becker, Brian E., Huselid, Mark A., and Ulrich, David, 2001, The HR Score Card: Linking People, Strategy, and Performance, New York: Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.

Jett, Q. R. and George, J. M., 2003, ‘Work Interrupted: A Closer Look at the Role of Interruptions in Organizational Life’, Academy of Management Review, 28(3), pp. 494–507.