Friday, 11 February 2011

Ideology, Philosophy and Policy


Ideology refers to a set of self beliefs and doctrines which are associated with a society, an institution or a business organization. Secondly, philosophy is a logical, analytical and pragmatic study of current state of society, institution or an organization with the help of philosophers.  Finally, policies are set of rules, guidelines which can be used as a tool to enforce the ideals associated with society, institution or an organization.
Here in my blog, I would like to restrict myself to a business organization as I am not qualified enough to understand the sociological aspects of the society.


Before the inception of any business organization or a social institution, the respective personnel who are part of the organization should come up with a set of ideal or ideologies primarily considering the current situation with a future vision of society and with an intention of bright future for the organization. In other words, ideologies must be adhered to a philosophy as philosophy is a scale to analyze the current state. These ideologies are generally ideologies of individuals. Every individual will have his/her own way of thoughts and beliefs. The organization ideologies will be based on these individual values and different individual values must be rightly blended together. Generally, the ideologies are agenda-oriented, very personal for most of the times, dogmatic and very emotional. Ideologies are either harmful to society and at the same time it can be very good to society depending upon how it is accepted in the society. At one time, communism was a fashion. My father and uncle say that wearing a kurta with glasses with beard on was a way of life. Communism was the thing for many individuals. However, in 15-20 years, everybody knew about that ideology and everybody has been moved out of it or moving out of it. I feel generally ideology is an aggressive of expressing individualistic thoughts and beliefs on somebody else by ideologues.


Philosophy, on the other hand, is a way of life. It is way of thinking, analyzing and understanding the way of life so that more wisdom and knowledge is gained. It is always analytical, logical study of way of life. It always talks about current state of life and thinks about it and tries to understand about the current affairs. Philosophy is pragmatic approach to life and is always societal or social in nature. It is neither harmful to society or may not do any good to society at the same time. It is a very passive way of understanding the things so that it reflects the current societal values or organization values. Also, it is the philosophy which creates the ideals, ideologies. All the ideologies are built upon philosophy as it is actual reflection of current affairs. Philosophy is not as rigid as ideology; but the change in philosophy is generally gradual in nature. However, sometimes it can be fast-paced to term that as revolution. Unlike ideology, there is a scope for change here.


Policy is a set of rules, guidelines which are outlined by ideologues so that they can impose the ideologies on the society or organization. Policies are always a guide to way of life. Policy is the way of implementing ideals into society or organization. Philosophers review these policies when they see winds of change in the organization generally. In some cases, it may not be true. If these reviews are fast paced and need to be changed immediately, ideally, ideologies need not to be tweaked or morphed so that new rules can be in place with immediate effect. But, if the new rule is going to change the current equilibrium of the organization, and then ideologies need to be revisited at the same time so that new rule benefits everybody within the organization.

Case Study

Societal Situations

We all know the origination of Semitic religions. This is one of the good case studies. Because of Jewish oppression and idealists’ attitude, philosophers felt that there was a need for change. The analysis and logical thinking of society was long driven process and philosophers suggested for change after a long gap of time. One of the philosophers was Jesus Christ. However, Jewish idealists went bizarre and the need for change reached pinnacle with the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The philosophers ushered the winds of change across the latitudes and longitudes resulting with new ideals, ideologies etc. The new ideologies were built upon the situation at that time.
However, there are even now people who do not accept that ideologies and still follow their own ideologies. From this, it is very apparent that ideologies need not be accepted blindly and followers part ways if they cannot merge. But, now we’ve Pope or Prophet who issue new ideologies without going thru the process which their fore fathers followed. Can we expect one more change? Of course.
In India, I think we had philosophers only; no ideologues. Ashoka, the great, could be one of the ideologues who conquered the World and imposed his violence attitude across the society. Buddha was born to guide him in the right path. Ashoka accepted the fact that change was necessary and changed the ideologies and spread the new ideologies.
However, ideologies that Buddha drafted were re-looked after some centuries by Adi Shankara, a philosopher, again. Adi Shankara felt the changes that occurred over the years and felt the need of new ideologies. This resulted in new values and ideologies to society. To follow these new ideals, new rules were defined and added a new dimension to society.
The above two case studies prove that analytical thinkers are needed in a society so that changes are identified and necessary actions need to be taken whenever it is required. Also, idealists need not be in agree with other ideologies at the same time. They may agree to disagree.

Organizational Situations

If an organization is concerned, it can be seen as a society as it is comprised of individuals with different thoughts and beliefs and all are adhered to company’s ideals and ideologies. Like society, each organization has got its own philosophy and set of rules. Any organization when started will have some philosophy upon with ideologies are built. But, as time moves on, philosophy of the organization does tend to change. Generally, it is a gradual process. So, it is the responsibility of the philosophers or so called executives to keep a watch on this gradual process.  Thus, there exists a responsibility to redefine, change or remove certain ideologies depending on the current state. In other words, executives need to change ideologies before changing the rules if they feel a reflective change in the philosophy of the organization.
Let us consider the European companies current state – most of the companies are under loss or labour problems. This is all because of the earlier communist or left ideologies resulted in illogical labour laws. The current situation is not at all good and there is a change in the society. Executives are coming up with new ideologies so that companies can be revived with old or existing ideologies will be scrapped. The new ideologies will be built based on current state and new rules will be defined to achieve it.


Ideologies for an organization are built up on philosophies with clear definition, vision and thought along with set of rules to achieve it. At the same time, these things are accepted generally across the organization. Also, ideologies need to be changed only when philosophically organization is changed.

Ironically, in my organization - rules have been bent to impose somebody’s ideology even though the current state of the organization does not need it.