Leadership and Management was the focus of a lecture facilitated by MANCOSA’s Centre for Women Leadership at the Mancosa [GSB] on Thursday, 28th July 2016. The lecture entitled, “Leadership as a functional area of management,” was delivered by Prof Ankit Katrodia, a senior lecturer at MANCOSA. According to Dr Claudine Hingston, Head of the Centre for Women Leadership, this lecture is important as leadership in management is pivotal in achieving productive outcomes in an organisation. Prof Katrodia based his lecture on the dabbawallas in India. He first explained that a dabbawalla is a person in the Indian city of Mumbai who collects fresh homemade food in tiffins (lunch boxes) from homes and delivers to office workers. The tiffins, he said, are later collected and delivered back to the homes, and if permission is granted, remaining food in the tiffins are given to the poor and hungry.
Prof Katrodia stated that even though the work sounds simple, it is a highly specialised trade that is over a century old and it is integral to Mumbai’s culture. He explained that the dabbawalla system is dependent on team work and meticulous timing and that a single tiffin could change hands three to four times in the course of its daily journey. According to Prof Katrodia, the dabbawallas are disciplined and they endeavour to deliver food accurately and on time, even during bad weather. As such, they have earned a best time management world record and are globally acknowledged by academics, top business people and dignitaries. Prof Katrodia further stated that the dabbawallas have an employee strength of 5,500 and deliver up to 400,000 tiffin boxes in a day.
This well-organised delivery and collection system, Prof Katrodia noted, was started by a semi educated man, Mahadu Havaji Bache in 1890 and he developed it through his good leadership skills. In conclusion, Prof Katrodia pointed out that the dabbawalla system demonstrates an excellent example of leadership and management. The lecture ended with a question and answer session.