Ajeet N. Mathur

1955 -

Professor Ajeet Narain Mathur was born in Delhi. A Hindu by birth, he imbibed the Sufi Islamic heritage characteristic of the Mathurs of Delhi, while his formal education was in public schools and Christian institutions in various parts of India, changing 13 schools in 11 years. He studied in the science stream with advanced courses in Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics. On completing school studies, he was ineligible to appear for the national school leaving exam being underage (he had started school at 2). So he used the waiting time to compere radio and television programmes (and soon the Station Director, All India Radio (AIR) appointed him a Member of the AIR Advisory Board when he was 14). He read whatever interested him. This meandering serendipitously brought him into contact with the ideas of Plato, Aristotle, Nagel, Hazelitt, Russell, Freud, Jung, Havelock Ellis and Wilfred Bion. He earned distinctions in Mathematics and Physics and was a keen cricketer, rifle-shooter, debater, and chess player (ELO Rating 2100). He was awarded the President of India’s Medal for the Best All Round Student, 1971. He joined St. Stephen’s College, University of Delhi where he won the College Debating Scarf, College Games Colours and University Sports Colours.

Ajeet graduated with a first class honours degree in Economics in 1975 and joined the two-year post-graduate MBA programme of IIM Calcutta (1975-77). There, he was elected the Colloquia Secretary. At the height of the emergency, he invited newspaper editors to a colloquium on campus to discusss freedom of the press, which caused a minor hiccup when its deliberations, to Ajeet’s surprise, mysteriously appeared in Time Magazine. He led a student strike against mismanagement of IIM Calcutta. In 1977, he was awarded the Bharat Chamber of Commerce Gold Medal for the most balanced and progressive outlook on management problems by IIM Calcutta. He joined the world of work, initially as an economist with the Tata Group and did a study on the industrial potential of West Bengal. He then worked for more than a decade with business firms such as ITC Limited (part of BAT Group), Dunlop and the Times Group. During his professional life over three decades, he has held roles of Regional Economist, Industrial Economist, Labour Economist, Manager, Inquiry Officer, Solicitor, Duly Constituted Attorney, Amicus Curiae, Town Administrator, Internal Management Consultant, Group Relations and OD Consultant, Personal and Professional Counsellor, Organisational Mentor, Coach, General Manager, Company Director, Managing Director, Chairman of the Board, Professor, and Civil Servant. He has served on Governing Boards of organisations in India and Europe. He is a Founding Member of the Bangalore Beekeepers’ Association and Harmoninen Laulu Yhdistys Ry (a Finnish Society for singing modal harmonies).

He received his doctoral degree from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and was the youngest person to be appointed a full professor at an IIM in 1988. He was elected an Affiliate Life Member of the Indian Psycho-Analytic Society in 1991. He was nominated India’s National Expert on managerial productivity with Asian Productivity Organisation, Tokyo and has served as an expert with various international organisations including UNU-WIDER, WHO, Asian Development Bank, UNDP, and ILO. During India’s economic crisis in 1991-92, he was among the eminent economists invited by then Finance Minister Manmohan Singh to advise on national economic restructuring and prepared the blueprint for the National Renewal Fund. He was among the invitees to advise the European Commission at the time of the Maastricht Treaty. He received the Fulbright Award in Development Economics in 1993.

In 1994, Ajeet was invited by the Helsinki School of Economics to relocate to Finland to strengthen their newly established International Center for quickly implementing an MBA curriculum for international business education of Finnish managers after the collapse of Soviet barter trade. In Finland, Ajeet inquired into the Spencerian Question ‘What Knowledge is of Most Worth?’ and researched into necessary and sufficient conditions for sustaining local communities of habitat as autonomous, self-governing, fiscally healthy, inter-generational continuities where people can live and work. This work, published as ‘Communities at Risk’ sparked a heated nation-wide debate in Finland and became a milestone in support for restructuring of Finnish local communities. He also researched the politics of disharmony in the management of gender differences, particularly the chronic underrepresentation of women in roles associated with exercise of authority and power. He introduced the idea of ‘listening posts’ to the Finnish Research Community in 1994 and ‘listening posts’ have since been used as a research methodology in action research doctoral dissertations in Finland. ‘Listening Posts’ were also used by Ajeet to span two countries for the first time in 2005 in the Finland-India Economic Relations Study. Ajeet developed an interest in understanding why inter-group mistrust turns violent and was part of the UNU-WIDER thinktank constituted to diagnose the upsurge of state breakdowns and complex humanitarian emergencies in the 1990s. He resigned from this thinktank over differences with other members who were unwilling to examine violence triggered by unconscious processes in human behaviour of groups and collectivities as a cause. He is the first foreigner invited to be a member of HENRY (Finnish Management Association) and the “Finnish Club of Rome”.

He interned with the Indian Society for Applied Behavioural Science (and later with ISISD) to understand himself and groups after getting disillusioned with the limits of economics when it came to development implementation and political economy. Since 1978, he has worked as staff in group process work and group relations conferences in collaboration with Gouranga Chattopadhyaya, M. Linda Hunt, Sheila Ramsay, M.M.Kumarswamy, Annamari Vahvaselkä, Seija Mansnerus, Gustav Schuleman, Jacintha K.S. Mayne, John Bazalgette and many others. He has been on the directing staff of working conferences in India and Finland. He came into contact with Eric Miller, Jon Stokes, Tim Dartington, Elizabeth Menzies-Lyth, Mira Erlich-Ginor, among others, through his association with the Tavistock Institute where he attended one working conference as a member in 1990. In 1997, Ajeet as Conference Director, introduced a new event, the Harmony Sensing Matrix Event in Group Relations Conferences in Scandinavia. Eric and Ajeet were structuring an innovative Indo-British collaboration involving IIM and the Tavistock Institute into twinning working conferences across India and the UK at the time Eric Miller passed away.

Ajeet is an abhyasi of the Sahaj Marg (Nakshbandi Sufi System of Meditation) since 1977. He was initiated as a yogi into the Adi Sampradaya on Makar Sankranti of 1986 by Swami Gopalbhai. In 1998, Ajeet resigned his tenured professorship to contemplate completely retiring to a life of prayer and meditation. He went on long retreats at Franciscan monastries in Assisi, Carceri and Trichy by the bank of the Cauvery. He returned to professional life as EU-Tempus Professor of European Integration and Internationalisation, and in 2001 was appointed IFCI Professor by the Indian Council of Research in International Economic Relations.

He was appointed Director, Institute of Applied Manpower Research (IAMR) and Secretary, Government of India in the Planning Commission to head India’s thinktank in 2006 when the Eleventh Five Year Plan 2007-12 was being made. He was closely associated with the design of the National Skills Mission, remandating of IAMR and human capital planning, new experimentation for preparing district plans grassroots up instead of top down, and diagnosing governance breakdowns in North East India. In 2008, against the advice of the Chief of Police and Para-Military Forces, he camped unarmed in the terrorist infested Hill Districts of Manipur and concluded the Tamenglong Peace and Development Accord, a turning point in the strife-torn region. He introduced ‘listening posts’ and ‘mass observation’ to Indian planners and research communities in 2007-08 and a large scale mass observation event was carried out on May Day 2008 in Delhi.

He was elected India’s representative to the International Association for Advancement of Curricular Studies in the Year 2000. He has held academic appointments at University of Edinburgh, K.U. Leuven, Belgium, University of California in Berkeley, IIM Calcutta, University of Bielefeld, Helsinki School of Economics, Aalto University, Turku School of Economics, University of Tampere and Flame School of Business, among others. He is now a Professor in Strategic Management and International Business at IIM Ahmedabad where he offers the Advanced Seminar in Action Research Methodologies to Doctoral Students and management development programmes such as strategic management of organisational knowledge, and group relations working conferences on the theme ‘Authority, Organisation, Strategies and Politics of Relatedness’ (AOSPOR). To MBA students, he teaches ‘Strategies and the Future’ (Advanced Strategic Management) and to Executive MBA students, ‘International Business’. Ajeet consults in the social, business, political and community domains. His approach to organisational consulting focusses on harmony, wonder, trust and courage. In 2010, he is involved with assignments for ‘Developing Multi-Cultural Teams’, researching market barriers in the EU-India context, facilitating the constitution-making process in Nepal and in institutionalising the Finland-India Economic Relations Project.

Ajeet has published 25 books and monographs and over a hundred papers and articles in journals and as chapters in edited books. He edited the Festschrift for Gouranga Chattopadhyay (his colleague since 1978) to which he himself contributed two articles ‘Dare to think the unthought known?’ (where his discovery of the ‘hermeneutic primary task’ was first published, 2006) and ‘Paradoxes of Globalisation’. He was a Keynote Speaker at the Belgirate Conference of 2009 where he presented a paper co-authored together with Gouranga Chattopadhyay. He is now completing what he regards as a major work of his life, which is tentatively titled ‘The Behavioural Foundations of Economics’.


A. Articles in refereed scientific journals

A.1 ‘How product markets and labour markets affect each other:Challenges for policy research in China and India’ in Manpower Journal Volume XLIII, No. 3, July-September, 2008, 1-19.

A.2. ‘Whose Future? Dilemma of the Gandhian Eskimo’, in Futures, 39 (7), September 2007, 895-901.

A.3 ‘Lost to Frankenstein Detail: The Unravelling and Salvaging of Strategy from the wonderland of Pixies, Goblins, Angels and Santa Claus’ in Review of Professional Management, Volume 4, Issue 2 (July-December 2006), 10-16

A.4 ‘Managing International Cultural Differences, Or Doing As the Romans (or Finns or Indians Do?’ (co-authored with Sari Joutsimäki as first author) in Review of Professional Management, Volume 4, Issue 2 (July-December 2006), 1-9

A.5 ´The politics of disharmony in management of gender differences' (co-authored with Anja Salmi), Vikalpa, 2006, 31 (3), 81-93.

A.6 ‘Conflicts between sustainable economic growth and shareholder value in international value chains’, Fortune Journal of International Management, 2005, Volume 2, No.1, 141-160.

A.7 ‘How small is beautiful and how large would be ugly ? The question of optimal size, spatial demarcations and risk calculus for sustainable local governance’, in RIVISTA – Italian Journal of Social Policy, 2005 (2).

A.8 ‘The Changing Role of the Firm with regard to Governance, Competitiveness, and International Economic Relations’, in Abhigyan, Volume XXII, No. 1, April-June 2004, .

A.9 ‘The Changing Role of the State with regard to Governance, Competitiveness, and International
Economic Relations’, in Review of Professional Management, 2003 (1), 1-10.

A.10 ‘Who Owns Traditional Knowledge ?’, in Economic and Political Weekly, Volume XXXVIII No. 42, 2003, 4471-4481.

A.11 ‘The Human Price of Enterprise’ in ASCI Journal of Management 28 (2), 1999, 1-12.

A.12. ‘Labour Market Flexibility: Holy Grail or Banquo's Ghost ?’, in Indian Journal of Labour Economics,Volume 37, No. 4, October-December 1994.

A.13. ‘Managing a Nation: Who is In Charge? The Market for Political Control’ (co-authored with Cynthia Van Hulle as first author), in ASCI Journal of Management, Vol 24(1), September1994, 1-13.

A.14. ‘Industrial Restructuring and Labour in Post-Maastricht Europe’, in Decision, 1995, Vol. 21, No.4, October-December.

A.15. ‘The Future of Trade Unions’, in Indian Journal of Social Work, Volume LV, No.2, April, 1994, 249-256.

A.16. ‘The experience of consultations during structural adjustment in India (1990-1992)’ in International Labour Review, Vol.132, No.3, 1993, 331-345.

A.17. ‘Economic Restructuring and Labour Markets: Untouched Agenda’, in Decision, Vol 18, No.4, October-December, 1991, 227-233.

A.18. ‘Managerial Productivity:Is It Measurable?’in Sydenham Management Review January, 1991 (Special Issue: Management Classics), 13-21.

A.19. ‘Economic Restructuring and Employment Security in India : Separating Facts from Folklore’, in Indian Journal of Labour Economics (Special Issue), 1992.

A.20. ‘In Search of Unicorns’, in Decision, Vol. 14, No. 4, (October-December) 1987, 181-191.


B. Scientific articles in anthologies

B.1 ‘The Shortage of Engineers and Technologists: Some Myths, Realities and Challenges’ in Madhu Srivastava and A.K. Mathur (eds.) NTMIS at 25, Institute of Applied Manpower Research, New Delhi, April 2008, 45-52.
B.2 ‘Intercultural Learning from ‘listening posts’: Embeddedness, Diffusion and Evolution of subnational and supranational metacultures in Finland and India’ (as first author, co-authored with Sari Mattila) in S. Manikutty ed., Learning, Teaching and Research in a borderless world, Macmillan, 2007, 1-20.
B.3 ‘Why does inter-group distrust turn violent ?’, in Sandra Dingli ed. Creative Thinking: Designing Future Possibilities, University of Malta Press, Malta, 2007, 240-248.

B.4 ‘Paradoxes of Globalisation’ (Chapter 10) in Ajeet Mathur ed. Dare to think the unthought known? Aivoairut Publishing, Tampere, 2006, 205-237.

B.5 ‘Dare to think the unthought known?’ (Chapter 1) in Dare to think the unthought known? Aivoairut Publishing, Tampere, 2006, 1-32.

B.6 ‘The Hidden Competitiveness Dimensions in Government-to-Government, Intra-national and International Economic Relations’ in M. P. Gupta ed. Management Challenges and Best Business Practice for effective E-government, McGraw Hill, October, 2005.

B.7 ‘The Future of International Business in the Tampere Region’ in Antti Kasvio and Ari-Veikko Anttiroiko (eds.), eCity: Analysing the efforts to generate local dynamism in the city of Tampere to meet the challenge of changing global economy, Tampere University Press, September 2005.

B.8 ‘Inquiring Minds and Inquiry Frames’ (pages 171-186) in Partha Nath Mukherjee and Chandan Sengupta (eds.), Indigenity and Universality, Sage, Thousand Oaks, 2004.

B.9. ‘To serve or to rule: Paradoxes of shared authority and appropriated power in e-governance’ (as first author, co-authored with Jacob Matthan), pages 228-234, in M.P. Gupta (ed.) Towards e-Governance, McGraw Hill, New Delhi, 2004.

B.10. ‘What Knowledge is of Most Worth ?’, Chapter 7 (pages 137-177) in William Pinar, Donna Trueit, William Doll and Hongyu Wang (eds.) Internationalization of Curriculum Studies, Peter Lang, New York, March 2003.

B.11. ‘Is e-Business in healthcare injurious to health ? Data protection problems concerning inversion of private and public spaces in designing and maintaining healthcare databases’, in Frontiers of e-Business Research, Volume I, 2002, 201-222.

B.12. ‘Who Owns Traditional Knowledge ?’, in Frontiers of e-Business Research, Volume II, 2003, 295-314.

B.13.‘Do we have to choose between employment security and labour market flexibility?’, Chapter 3 (Pages 66-83) in INDIA: Economic Reforms and Labour Policies, UNDP/ ILO-SAAT, 1996.

B.14. ‘The Improbability of Full Employment’ in Mihaly Simai (ed.) The Future of Work (Volume II, pages 154-177), Zed Books, 1995.

B.15. ‘The Exit Policy Controversy’, in L.K. Deshpande and Gerry Rodgers (ed.) The Indian Labour Market and Economic Structural Change, B.R. Publishing, 1993, 81-107.

B.16. ‘Management Dynamism: Indian Experience’, in Ikujiro Nonaka ed. Management Dynamism: A Study of Selected Companies in Asia, Asian Productivity Organization, Tokyo, June 1992, 53-103.

B.17. ‘Impact of Structural Change on Employment and Wages-The Employers’ Perspective’ in A.V. Jose (ed.) Employment and Structural Change in Indian Industries , ILO-ARTEP, 1989).

B.18. ‘Effects of Legal and Contractual Regulations on Employment in Indian Industry’, in Gus Edgren (ed.) Restructuring, Employment and Industrial Relations:Adjustment Issues in Asian Industries, ILO-ARTEP, New Delhi, 1989, 153-201.

B.19. ‘HRD in India : By Whom, For Whom?’, in Towards Organisational Effectiveness through HRD, HRD Network, New Delhi, 1989, 18-25.

B.20. ‘Technology Diffusion and the Indian Labour Market: Barriers and Gateways’, in Gerry Rodgers ed. The Diffusion of High Tech and the Labour Market, ILO, Geneva, 1990.

B.21. ‘On the Management of Change and Conflict in Organisations’, in Management Concepts and Techniques, Institution of Engineers, January, 1977.


C. Books and Monographs

C.1 Nepal, in Roger Blanpain ed. International Encyclopedia of Labour Laws and Industrial Relations, Kluwer-Deventer, 2009.

C.2. Dare to think the Unthought Known ?, Aivoairut Publishing, Tampere, March 2006.

C.3. Missing Markets in World Trade: The Case for Sui Generis Protection of Traditional Knowledge, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations, WTO-TRIPS series, August 2004.

C.4. The role of information technology in designs of healthcare trade, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations, New Delhi. September, 2003.

C.5. Communities at Risk, (as first author, co-authors Markku Ryynänen, and Arne Nystedt), Series A1:Studies 48, University of Tampere, March, 2003.

C.6 Nepal , in Roger Blanpain ed. International Encyclopedia of Labour Laws and Industrial Relations, Kluwer-Deventer, June 2003.

C.7 Indo-French Economic Relations: A Study of Trade and Investment Potential, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations, New Delhi, September 2002.

C.8 What Knowledge is of Most Worth ?, Series A1: Studies 47, University of Tampere, 2000.

C.9 Finland-India Economic Relations:A twinning study of trade and investment potential,
ETLA, Helsinki, 1998; second reprint, 2002.

C.10. Labour laws and Industrial Relations in Nepal, Kluwer, 1996.

C.11. Foreign Presence of Belgian Companies, NR 9327, K.U. Leuven, Belgium, 1993. (co-author, Reinhilde Veugelers).

C.12. Industrial Restructuring and the National Renewal Fund in India, Asian Development Bank, Manila, 1993.

C.13. Labour Institutions and Economic Development, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, 1993.

C.14. Economic Restructuring and Tax Reforms : The Unresolved Agenda, WPS-175(92), Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, February 1992 (as first author with co-authors, Hrishikesh Bhattacharya and Anup K. Sinha).

C.15. Compensatory Measures During Structural Adjustment in India, ILO/LEGREL, 1992

C.16. Industrial Restructuring and Union Power, ILO-ARTEP, World Employment Programme, Geneva and New Delhi, 1991.

C.17. Labour Market Flexibility and Employment Security in India, ILO, Geneva, 1991

C.18. Employment Security and Labour Market Flexibility in India, ILO, Geneva, 1991.

C.19. Green Signals, Red Flags and White Elephants : An Industrial Relations Perspective of National Choices and Consequences, Shri Ram Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources, New Delhi, 1988.

C.20. Emerging Issues of Employment and Wages in Indian Manufacturing Enterprises, ILO-ARTEP, New Delhi, 1987.

C.21. A Study of Contractual, Legal and Customary Regulations on Hiring and Firing in Indian Manufacturing Industry, ILO-ARTEP, New Delhi, 1987.

C.22. Dynamics of Wages, Popular Prakashan, Bombay, 1986; Sangam Books (International Edition), 1988.
C.23. A Study of the Industrial Potential of West Bengal (Volumes I, II and III), Tata Economic Consultancy Services, Bombay, 1977 (co-authored with Hannan Ezekiel, Sankar De and D.Saha).


D. Doctoral Dissertation and Other academic theses

D.1 A Study of the Dynamics of Wage Determination of Industrial Employees, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, 24.5.1983, Doctoral Dissertation.

D.2 Are Finland’s local communities sustainable without internationalisation ? Series A3:35, University of Tampere, 2001.

D.3 The role of institutions in complex humanitarian emergencies (mimeo), UNU-WIDER, Helsinki, 1996.

D.4. Do the Northern Lights Shine Brightly ? Some Late Lessons of Early Warnings from Spatial Inequalities (mimeo), UNU-WIDER, Helsinki, 2003.


E. Other Publications

E.1. ‘Pienet kunnat elinkelvottomia ?’ (in Finnish, Are small communities viable ?),
Alakerta 5.11.2004, Aamulehti, 2004.

E.2 ‘Missing Markets in World Trade’, From the Ivory Tower Column, Financial Express, December 29, 2003.

E.3 ‘India And Scandinavia: Does The Twain Meet?’ (pages 2-64) in Scandinavia: Business beyond boundaries, Financial Express, July, 2002.

E.4 The role of information technology in designs of healthcare trade, (for WHO Commission on Macroeconomics and Health, Working Group 4 on ‘Health and the International Economy’), WHO Geneva, August 2001 (mimeo, processed).

E.5. ‘The Impact of Industrial Restructuring on Labour’, in The Financial Express, February 19, 1992 and The Economic Times, August 13, 1992.

E.6. ‘Why some unemployed are unemployable’, Business World, February 15-28, 1988.

E.7. ‘Human Resource Development: Do we have the Vision?’, in AIAET Journal (Special Issue), New Delhi, 1988.

E.8. ‘Organisational Development - Unintended Consequences: Dilemma of the Internal Consultant’, in The Economic Times, April 7, 1987.

E.9. ‘Organisational Development:A Blueprint for Efficiency?’, The Manager, September, 1985, pp 1-8.

E.10. ‘Need for National Level Wage Policy’, The Economic Times, Vol. XXI, No. 167, August 19, 1981.

E.11. ‘Dimensions of Industrial Conflict - A Case Study’, Proceedings of the Seminar on Conflict Management, Shriram Centre, Delhi, 1981


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