Aon Hewitt Think Tank Program

Think Tank Research


Track 1:Faculty/Independent Researcher Track 

The Think Tank group identifies research topics and then identify the scholars whose interests match with the themes identified by Think Tank.

Themes identified by the Think Tank Group:

Value Based Leadership:

This theme focuses on leadership as we move forward. The concern that was raised was, “are people losing faith in leaders at all level”. The group suggested that the research should look at institutions that have embedded culture and other anchors that support sustainable leadership of an institution in the long term. Also, research the styles of the most powerful leaders India has in the sphere of politics, industry, academics and government. Is there something unique about what makes you successful in the Indian context?

Some of the areas that were brought up for discussion were:

  • Are leaders putting self ahead of others?
  • Our leaders may not be able to create that level of trust today because most of them are consumed with self?
  • Is loss of faith in political leadership now impacting corporate leadership?
  • Several corporate houses have also been named in various political scams. While scams in general may have resulted in loss of faith in our political leaders, has this loss of faith also started to extend to corporate leadership as well?
  • Has high growth of businesses resulted in too many young leaders?
  • Several organizations in India have witnessed rapid growth after liberalization. One of the side effects of this rapid growth could be fast growth of young managers into leadership roles. These young leaders may not have sufficient all round experience and hence may suffer from lack of perspective or intuition.
  • India, as it grows, will source it’s workforce from various sources. Do our organizations or leaders fully understand and appreciate the various facets of diversity to tap into the different sources?
  • With social media and availability of mobile devices, the forms of communication have changed dramatically over the last few years and it continuous to evolve as we speak. Do organizations or leaders fully understand the impact of new communication modes on creating trust?
  • Have we understood the cultural anchors of leadership in India? For example: long term relationship may be an Indian anchor but the new employment contract may be creating disconnect with this anchor. 

Growing Internal Talent:

This started with a concern that was raised and shared by many in the room on, “ability of manufacturing sector to attract the best of the Gen Y” and this later grew into encompassing all the more resilient, arduous jobs like production, sales etc. Research under this theme would focus on defining the process of talent development, identifying possible anchors that have worked well in the Indian context and to discover stories that demonstrate how these anchors have been deployed successfully by others. For example, one could study how Army is able to create a higher sense of purpose or how PSU are able to retain talent over long periods of time despite having compensation which is not always the best in the industry. Another example was of talent development practices at MNCs versus promoter led organizations.

Some of the anchors that were discussed were:

  • Identification of talent: 20 years back almost all top leaders were from the manufacturing background, however today that is not the case. Are we following the right process of talent identification or do we need to define a more robust process to ensure talent identification of all functions?
  • Exposure: Some functions are considered to be more “glamorous” over others! Exposure to various functions like sales, manufacturing etc should be considered as a required step for growth.
  • Career Aspiration: Do we fully understand the career aspirations of Gen Y and are we designing our talent management programs according to the new expectations?
  • Increasing Ownership from Line and HR: Who owns the talent development agenda? The line or the HR? The role and ownership of the line needs to be defined clearly.
  • Branded talent: For various reasons corporates have been going after branded talent, which does not necessarily translates into better talent. In order to attract the right talent for the job, it’s important to look beyond branded talent.
  • Coaching: Do we need to demonstrate the case of having formal coaching process for talent development, not just at senior levels but at all levels?

Track 2: Doctoral Scholar Track 

As a part of Track 2, the Think Tank does not pre-decide the topics; it reaches out to current FPM / Ph.D. scholars in leading management institutes of India and seeks research proposals on a wide variety of topics