Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Time Management




Unless time is managed properly, nothing worthwhile can be accomplished.

Time is unique resource.

It is indispensable, intangible, irreplaceable, irretrievable and therefore invaluable.

It is equitably and uniformly distributed.

The rich, the poor, the powerful and the weak, all get the same amount of time.

A day of every one consists of 24 hours only, no more and no less.

Every piece of work requires time. Difficult tasks may require ample time; after all Rome was not built in a day.

Time does not obey the laws of ordinary arithmetic.

4 minutes today and 3 minutes tomorrow do not add up to 7 minutes at a stretch.

Time without energy has not much value; for instance, if one is seriously ill the time duration of illness is practically useless.

Time is money.

Costs are related to the passage of time, such as interest on capital. Time is also a measure of effort.

Even a few minutes of time can be of critical importance.

Time lost is lost for ever and yet the easiest thing is to waste time.

We always tend to waste time and then regret that we are always short of time.

Time management is, therefore a vital aspect of management.

A Swiss gentleman summed up 65 years of his life as follows:-

(a) Spent in bed - 26 years
(b) Spent in Office/at work - 20 years
(c) Spent in eating - 6 years
(d) Spent in waiting - 6 years
(e) Spent in anger - 6 years
(f) Spent in toilet, bathing, shaving,
laughing, scolding children, blowing
nose and lighting cigar - 1 year

(g) No time apparently spent in
thinking, planning or achieving goals

Modes of Time

There are two modes of time for every person:

(a) Either you have a very “busy” mind, effectively employing human resources like working, thinking, remembering, reading, writing, watching, discussing, listening etc., in short, fully utilizing your senses. Here you are very busy and involved.

(b) Or at the other extreme, you have an “empty” mind – for example, whilst waiting for a bus or train, waiting for a doctor or friend, when you do not get sleep or listening to a boring speech or attending infructuous meetings – activities in which you are not interested or mentally involved but perforce have to be physically present.

In the first case time flies – you would say – “Oh. My God! One hour has passed. I thought just about 5 minutes have gone by.”

In the second case, imagine you are waiting for a doctor, or your friend at a Cinema Hall or awaiting a train, which is running late, at the railway station. You look right, then left, then at your watch. You curse your friend or the train for not coming on time. It seems ages. When the much-delayed person or train arrives at last, you shout “Why are you late? I am cooling my heels for hours.” Whereas actually only three or four minutes may have passed.

For a Busy Mind: Time Flies.
For a Empty Mind: Time Crawls

Time Management

Time can be divided into three aspects for applying techniques of managing it:-

(a) Biological: Pertaining to bodily functions.
(b) Social: Pertaining to self, family and society.
(c) Professional: Pertaining to professional activities/time spent at work.

It is essential to maintain equilibrium between these three aspects. Any imbalance may prove to be detrimental to one’s physical and mental health and can adversely affect the individual in the long run.

It is essential, therefore, to allocate one’s time in balanced manner to the extent feasible to all these three aspects.

(a) Biological Time : Adopt the golden mean of moderation among:-
(i) Sleep
(ii) Food
(iii) Ablutions / Calls of nature
(iv) Sex / Recreation
(v) Physical Exercise

It is advantageous to establish regularity for all the above activities.

(b) Social Time : It is desirable to give time to yourself, your family and for society and the general guide lines are :

(i) Self development/self time – at least one hour per day should be kept for oneself for thinking, introspection, reading and other hobbies.

(ii) Family time – strong family ties and a happy domestic life are the foundations of success in both personal and professional life. One must spend some time with one’s family everyday and to co-ordinate activities of family members. Dinner time and after is suitable for this.

iii) Societal time – in order to live in society, one has to attend various social events like weddings, religious functions etc., where one is not the master of one’s own time. Social obligations may entail a substantial portion of time.

(c) Professional Time : In this aspect, if one is working, one does not really have a choice as working hours are generally fixed. The aim here is to optimally utilize the available time for maximum output/productivity and self satisfaction. It is, therefore, essential to plan one’s work and that of the subordinates in an efficient manner and also identify “Time Wasters” and make efforts to eliminate/reduce them.

Examples of Time Wasters are –

(i) Infructuous meetings.
(ii) Poor communication [including unnecessary mobile phone calls].
(iii) Unwanted visitors
(iv) Disorganized work due to lack of clear cut priorities, “Fire Fighting”/Crisis Management, duplication of effort, confused responsibility and authority, ineffective delegation, indecision and, in general, failure of Management of Work.

The basic cause of time wastage at work can be classified as follows:-

(a) Over-staffing is common cause of wastage of time. Since most of the people do not have clearly defined work for the whole day, they often obstruct each other and create unnecessary problems. According to Peter Drucker – “If a Manager or Supervisor is spending more than 1/10th of his time on human relations, on disputes and quarrels, it is clear indication of over-staffing”.

(b) Time is wasted on account of faulty organization of work. Work is not planned sufficiently in advance.

(c) There is enormous wastage of time and effort due to various meetings often at various locations, which are not properly directed and drag on interminably.

(d) Time is often wasted because the relevant information is not readily available or the information available is inaccurate. Similarly collection, storage and dissemination of unnecessary information is wasteful.

Though one has to evolve one’s own technique of time management depending on the circumstances, the three cardinal principles are –

(a) Span of Attention
(b) Provision of time in adequate chunks.
(c) Concentration.

(a) Span of Attention : There is a natural limit to how long one can concentrate on a particular activity or task. This is called span of attention. For example – One cannot obviously work continuously for a long duration without loosing effectiveness. Working beyond one’s span of attention becomes counter-productive. Work begins to suffer badly. In planning work, this requirement must always be kept in view.

(b) Provisions of time in adequate chunks : If any important work is to be done, time must be made available in sufficiently large chunks. For example – If a job takes 20 minutes, it is of no use to allocate time at the rate of 5 minutes a day for 4 days. Time used in such driblets is utterly wasted. For important work one requires sufficient time at a stretch.

(c) Concentration: Concentration is essential for effective utilization of time. This as a matter of practice is necessary to avoid all interruptions. It is also necessary to focus attention on one task at a time.


Time Management is essentially a matter of self-discipline, though it is affected by external factors.

Your aim should be to identify and minimize both internal and external Time Wasters to the extent feasible.

One has to cultivate the art of enjoying both essential work and leisure.

It is essential to maintain equilibrium between biological, social and professional time for improving one’s effectiveness.

In short: Time T = X + Y + Z,

where X = hard work; Y = play or rest; Z = keeping one’s mouth shut i.e. “Silence” for “Introspection”.






Copyright © Vikram Karve 2009
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Ethical Technology Management

Ethical Dimension of Technology




The historical derivation of the term technology comes from the Greek word technikos, meaning “of art, skilful, practical” and the portion of the word ology indicates “knowledge of” or a “systematic treatment of.”

Thus the derivation of the term technology is literally “knowledge of the skilful and practical.”

However, this definition is too general to imply how one may predict knowledge of the useful before it exists.

For this reason, let us use a slightly different definition of technology.

We will define technology as the knowledge of the manipulation of nature for human purposes.

This definition retains the notions both of knowledge and practicality (human purposes) but adds the new concept of manipulation of nature.

This implies that all practical or technical skills ultimately derive form alterations of nature.

Technology depends on a base in the natural world but extends the natural world through the phenomenon of manipulation.

Since we want to manipulate nature, the ability to predict what nature will do when manipulated is most useful, indeed imperative.


By very definition, technology manipulates nature for human purposes.

Thus, technology intervenes in the lives of human beings, directly or indirectly, trying to alter behaviours.

Technology, therefore, has an ethical dimension.

The very raison d’etre of technology is human purpose.

What is the fundamental purpose of human life? Is it to increase standard of living; to improve quality of life; to enhance satisfaction in life?

All these various aspects can be distilled into a single holistic concept: VALUE OF HUMAN LIFE.


The value of human life may be defined as the balance or ratio between satisfaction or happiness and pain or suffering.


In the context of this definition, the ultimate purpose of technology is to enhance the value of human life, with a long-term perspective, by maximization of happiness and satisfaction and a concomitant reduction or minimization of pain and suffering (physical, mental and emotional).

As a generalization, people want a better life. A better life can usually be transcribed as freedom from want, access to and possession of at least some of the nonessentials or luxuries, good health, a reasonable life expectancy, the absence of emotional stress, satisfying human relations (resulting from gratifying work experience), intellectual stimulation, and personally rewarding leisure activities.


Human needs and values change through time as technology advances.

Man tends to accept the fruits of new technology more readily (satisfaction/happiness/comfort) whereas he is reluctant to accept changes in his personal life.

Thus social and cultural changes always lag behind technology causing a mismatch which consequently leads to unhappiness, dissatisfaction, pain and suffering (emotional) and consequent lowering of the value of human life.

A crude but practical way of classifying human values is to divide needs into those that are essentially physiological and those that are psychological. Most new technologies cater to physiological needs by performing dangerous, dirty, or difficult tasks (the 3 D’s) thereby enhancing the value of human life.

As regards psychological needs, an example pertaining to Information Technology (IT) may be in order.

IT caters to two unique categories of psychological needs of humans: Cognitive Needs which refer to the human need for information so as to be ready to act or make decisions that may be required, and Affective Needs which refer to the emotional requirements of human, such as their need to do challenging work, to know their work has value, to feel personally secure, and to be in control.

Undue emphasis on cognitive needs and the neglect of affective needs may cause emotional pain which counterbalances the gains to cognitive needs which may be detrimental to the value of human life as a whole.


In our haste to milk technology for immediate economic advantage we often lose sight of the long-term consequences: the higher order and indirect effects, especially the delayed and unintended effects of technology.

The Sorenson multiple effect network methodology is a useful technique for an analyzing the impact and consequences of technology.

The term malefit is introduced to represent harmful effects and consequences of a technology in contrast with benefit as a useful output.

The consequences of a technology [Effects vs Consequences] may be categorized as:


(i) First Order : Benefits
(ii) Second Order : Direct Malefits
(iii) Third Order : Indirect Malefits
(iv) Fourth Order : Unintended Malefits
(v) Fifth Order : Delayed Malefits

Such analyses definitely help in assessing the impact of various consequences of a technology on the value of human life in the long-term perspective in holistic manner.

Early identification of factors detrimental to the value of human life may prove useful in technology assessment to reduce mismatches.

We must not lose sight of our basic premise that the cardinal aim of technology is to increase the value of human life by maximising happiness and minimising suffering.

Yes, the main purpose of Technology is to improve the Value of Human Life. Let us keep this important fact in mind when we do research and develop new technologies.


Copyright © Vikram Karve 2009
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.






[A Teaching Story]



Dear Reader, do read and reflect on this apocryphal tale, a teaching story I heard long back, from one of my teachers, I think.

Once upon a time there was a childless King who wanted to choose a worthy successor to his throne after he passed away.

He called all the young children in his kingdom to his palace one day and said: “It has come time for me to choose the next King. I have decided to choose one of you as my successor, as my Crown Prince, and groom you to be the King after I am gone.”

The amazed children listened spellbound as the King spoke: “I am going to give each one of you a seed today – Just One Seed. It is a very special seed. I want you all to go home, plant the seed, water it, nurture it, and come back here to me exactly one year from today with the plant you have grown from this one seed. I will then judge the plants that you bring to me and whoever grows the best plant will be the Crown Prince, the next King after me.”

There was one small shy boy who was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed from the King. He went home and excitedly told his mother the whole story. She helped him get a pot and some planting soil, and he planted the seed and watered it regularly and nurtured it carefully. Twice every day, in the morning and in the evening, the small shy boy would water the seed lovingly and watch to see if it had germinated and grown.

After a few days, some of the other children began to talk about their seeds and the lovely plants that were beginning to grow, but the small shy boy kept going home and checking his seed, disappointed that nothing was growing from his seed.

Days passed, then weeks, and months, but still there was no sign of a plant growing from the small shy boy’s seed. But the small boy still kept lovingly watering his seed regularly hoping that it would germinate.

By now the others were talking about their wonderful healthy plants but small shy boy didn't have a plant and he felt like a failure, but he kept persevering and nurturing his seed with love and dedication in the optimistic hope that his seed would someday sprout a plant.

Six months went by and there was still no sign of a plant in the small shy boy’s pot.

Everyone else had exquisite tall plants, but he had nothing. Inwardly he feared that maybe he had killed his seed but the small shy boy didn't say anything to his friends and kept on tenderly watering and nurturing his seed with dogged determination and doting devotion in the fond hope that his seed would grow and blossom into a beautiful plant.

Finally, one year passed, and all the children of the kingdom brought their plants to the King for inspection.

The small shy boy was scared and did not want to take his desolate plant-less pot with just the soil and seed to the King, but his mother encouraged him to go, to take his pot with him, and to be honest about everything.

The small shy boy felt fearful and nervous, but he listened to his mother and took his barren pot to the King.

When the small shy boy arrived at the King’s Palace, he was astonished to see the variety of beautiful and exotic plants grown by all the other children.

Totally crestfallen, the small shy boy put his desolate pot on the floor and everyone jeered in derision and mocked him. A few children felt pity for him and tried to console the small shy boy.
Suddenly the King arrived, looked around the hall appraising the plants and showered words of praise to the gathered children: “It is really amazing – you all have really grown fantastic beautiful plants, trees and flowers. I am truly impressed. Today, one of you is going to be selected as the Crown Prince to be the next King!”

The small shy boy shivered with tremors of trepidation and overcome with shame tried to hide in the back.

The King’s eyes searched all over and suddenly he saw the small shy boy at the back of the hall with his barren pot.

The King ordered his guards to bring him in front of the throne.

The small shy boy was terrified. “When the King sees my pot, how badly I have failed in the task he gave me, he is sure to punish me!”

Seeing how frightened the small shy boy was, the King stepped down from his throne, walked down towards the petrified boy, lovingly put his hand on the small shy boy’s shoulders and announced: “This boy is your new King!”

The small shy boy could not believe his ears – it was unbelievable that the King should select a failure and loser like him who couldn’t even sprout his seed be the Crown Prince.

The King escorted the small shy boy to the throne and said to everyone: “One year ago I gave all of you a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But what you did not know is that I gave you all boiled seeds that would not grow. Except this honest boy, all of you have brought me beautiful plants with exotic flowers and even trees with fruit. When you found out that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. This boy was the only one with the sincerity to nurture the barren seed for one whole year with dedication, hope and perseverance and had the courage and honesty to bring me the desolate pot with my seed in it. Therefore, I select him as my Crown Prince to be the next King!”

Tell me Dear Reader; is this “teaching” story relevant in today’s world ?

Is Honesty the Best Policy ?




Friday, April 17, 2009


Today, the 18th of April, is the birth anniversary of Maharshi Karve.

I offer my humble tribute to the great man by posting below the story of his life and times, his work, his struggles, his triumphs and trust all of us will draw inspiration from his dedication, sacrifices and achievements.

Maharshi Dhondo Keshav Karve

Biographical Literature on the Story of his Life and Work



In my own small way I wish to present a review of biographical literature on Maharshi Karve in order to enable readers, especially the students and alumni of educational institutions who owe their very genesis to Maharshi Karve like the SNDT University and the numerous and multifarious women’s schools and colleges under the aegis of the Maharshi Karve Stree Shikshan Samstha, get an insight into the life and work of this great social reformer whose ceaseless efforts played a cardinal role in transforming the destiny of the Indian woman.

I have before me three books on Maharshi Dhondo Keshav Karve:

(i) His autobiography titled ‘Looking Back’ published in 1936.

(ii) Maharshi Karve by Ganesh L. Chandavarkar published in 1958 by Popular Prakashan Bombay (Mumbai)

(iii) Maharshi Karve – His 105 Years published on 18 April 1963 ( His 106th birth anniversary) by Hingne Stree Shiksan Samstha Poona (Pune)

Allow me to tell you, Dear Reader, a bit about these books which describe the life and times of Maharshi Karve and tell us about the monumental pioneering work of one of the foremost social and educational reformers of India.

LOOKING BACK by Dhondo Keshav Karve - Autobiography
It would be apt to start with his autobiography – Looking Back, and let Maharshi Karve describe his life and work from his own point of view in his simple yet fascinating style. I am placing below a Book Review of his autobiography (which I had reviewed a few years ago) for your perusal:

Book Review of The Autobiography of Maharshi Karve: “Looking Back” by Dhondo Keshav Karve (1936)

Dear Reader, you must be wondering why I am reviewing an autobiography written in 1936. Well, sometime back, for six years of my life, I stayed in a magnificent building called Empress Court on Maharshi Karve Road in Mumbai. I share the same surname [ Karve ] as the author of this autobiography. Also, I happen to be the great grandson of Maharshi Dhondo Keshav Karve. But, beyond that, compared to him I am a nobody – not even a pygmy.

Maharshi Karve clearly knew his goal, persisted ceaselessly throughout his life with missionary zeal and transformed the destiny of the Indian Woman. The first university for women in India - The SNDT University and educational institutions for women covering the entire spectrum ranging from pre-primary schools to post-graduate, engineering, vocational and professional colleges bear eloquent testimony to his indomitable spirit, untiring perseverance and determined efforts.

In his preface, Frederick J Gould, renowned rationalist and lecturer on Ethics, writes that “the narrative is a parable of his career” – a most apt description of the autobiography. The author tells his life-story in a simple straightforward manner, with remarkable candour and humility; resulting in a narrative which is friendly, interesting and readable.

Autobiographies are sometimes voluminous tomes, but this a small book, 200 pages, and a very easy comfortable enjoyable read that makes it almost unputdownable. Dr. Dhondo Keshav Karve writes a crisp, flowing narrative of his life, interspersed with his views and anecdotes, in simple, straightforward style which facilitates the reader to visualize through the author’s eyes the places, period, people and events pertaining to his life and times and the trials and tribulations he faced and struggled to conquer.

Dr. Dhondo Keshav Karve was born on 18th of April 1858. In the first few chapters he writes about Murud, his native place in Konkan, Maharashtra, his ancestry and his early life– the description is so vivid that you can clearly “see” through the author’s eye.

His struggle to appear in the public service examination (walking 110 miles in torrential rain and difficult terrain to Satara) and his shattering disappointment at not being allowed to appear for the examination (because “he looked too young”) make poignant reading.

“Many undreamt of things have happened in my life and given a different turn to my career” he writes, and then goes on to describe his high school and, later, college education at The Wilson College Bombay (Mumbai) narrating various incidents that convinced him of the role of destiny and serendipity in shaping his life and career as a teacher and then Professor of Mathematics.

He married at the age of fourteen but began his marital life at the age of twenty! This was the custom of those days. Let’s read the author’s own words on his domestic life: “… I was married at the age of fourteen and my wife was then eight. Her family lived very near to ours and we knew each other very well and had often played together. However after marriage we had to forget our old relation as playmates and to behave as strangers, often looking toward each other but never standing together to exchange words…. We had to communicate with each other through my sister…… My marital life began under the parental roof at Murud when I was twenty…” Their domestic bliss was short lived as his wife died after a few years leaving behind a son… “Thus ended the first part of my domestic life”… he concludes in crisp witty style.

An incident highlighting the plight of a widow left an indelible impression on him and germinated in him the idea of widow remarriage. He married Godubai, who was widowed when she was only eight years old, was a sister of his friend Mr. Joshi, and now twenty three was studying at Pandita Ramabai’s Sharada Sadan as its first widow student.

Let’s read in the author’s own words how he asked for her hand in marriage to her father – “I told him…..I had made up my mind to marry a widow. He sat silent for a minute and then hinted that there was no need to go in search of such a bride”.

He describes in detail the ostracism he faced from some orthodox quarters and systematically enunciates his life work - his organization of the Widow Marriage Association, Hindu Widows Home, Mahila Vidyalaya, Nishkama Karma Math, and other institutions, culminating in the birth of the first Indian Women’s University (SNDT University).

The trials and tribulations he faced in his life-work of emancipation of education of women (widows in particular) and how he overcame them by his persistent steadfast endeavours and indomitable spirit makes illuminating reading and underlines the fact that Dr. DK Karve was no arm-chair social reformer but a person devoted to achieve his dreams on the ground in reality.

These chapters form the meat of the book and make compelling reading. His dedication and meticulousness is evident in the appendices where he has given date-wise details of his engagements and subscriptions down to the paisa for his educational institutions from various places he visited around the world to propagate their cause.

He then describes his world tour, at the ripe age of 71, to meet eminent educationists to propagate the cause of the Women’s University, his later domestic life and ends with a few of his views and ideas for posterity. At the end of the book, concluding his autobiography, he writes: “Here ends the story of my life. I hope this simple story will serve some useful purpose”.

Maharshi Dhondo Keshav Karve wrote this book in 1936. He lived on till the 9th of November 1962, achieving so much more on the way, and was conferred the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters ( D.Litt.) by the famous and prestigious Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in 1942, followed by University of Poona [Pune] in 1951, SNDT Women’s University in 1955, and the LL.D. by Bombay [Mumbai] University in 1957.

Maharshi Dhondo Keshav Karve received the Padma Vibhushan in 1955 and the India’s highest honour the “Bharat Ratna” in 1958, a fitting tribute on his centenary at the glorious age of 100.

It is an engrossing and illuminating autobiography, written in simple witty readable storytelling style, and it clearly brings out the mammoth contribution of Maharshi Karve and the trials and tribulations he faced.


I (the reviewer) was born in 1956, and have fleeting memories of Maharshi Karve, during our visits to Hingne Stree Sikshan Samstha in 1961-62, as a small boy of 5 or 6 can. My mother tells me that I featured in a Films Division documentary on him during his centenary celebrations in 1958 (I must have been barely two, maybe one and a half years old) and there is a photograph of him and his great grand children in which I feature. It is from some old timers and other people and mainly from books that I learn of his pioneering work in transforming the destiny of the Indian Woman and I thought I should share this.

I have written this book review with the hope that some of us, particularly the students and alumni of SNDT University, Cummins College of Engineering for Women, SOFT, Karve Institute of Social Sciences and other educational institutions who owe their very genesis and existence to Maharshi Karve, are motivated to read about his stellar pioneering work and draw inspiration from his autobiography.

Reviews of two biographical books on Maharshi Karve

As I have mentioned earlier, two other good books pertaining to the life of Maharshi Karve which I have read are:

Maharshi Karve by Ganesh L. Chandavarkar, Popular Prakashan (1958)


Maharshi Karve – His 105 years, Hingne Stree Shikshan Samstha (1963).

The biography ‘Maharshi Karve by Ganesh L. Chandavarkar’ was commissioned and published by the Dr. DK Karve Centenary Celebrations Committee on 18th April 1958 the birth-centenary of Dr. DK Karve. (Thousands attended the main function on 18th April 1958 at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai which was addressed by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the Prime Minister).

The author, GL Chandavarkar, then Principal of Ram Mohan English school, has extensively researched the life of Dr. DK Karve, by personal interaction with the great man himself, reminiscences of his Professors, colleagues and students, and his two writings Looking back and Atma-Vritta.

The author acknowledges with humility: “This is the story of the life of a simple man who has risen to greatness without being aware of it in the least. It is being told by one who can make no claim to being a writer” - and then he lucidly narrates the story of Maharshi Karve’s life in four parts comprising twenty four chapters in simple narrative style.

Part I, comprising eight chapters, covers the early life of Dhondo Keshav Karve, from his birth to the defining moment in his life - his remarriage to Godubai who was widowed at the age of eight, within three months of her marriage, even before she knew what it was to be a wife. The first chapter vividly depicts the life and culture of Murud and Konkan in a brilliantly picturesque manner and is a fascinating read. The narrative then moves in a systematic manner encompassing the salient aspects of Maharshi Karve’s life till his birth centenary in 1958. The biographer comprehensively cover Maharshi Karve’s marital and work life, but does not throw much light on his relationships with his four illustrious sons, who were well-known in their own respective fields of work.

The author avoids pontification and writes in friendly storytelling style which makes the book very interesting and readable, making it suitable for the young and old alike. I feel an epilogue covering the remaining years of his life would make the biography more complete.

There is a reference index at the end and I found this book to be quite a definitive biography which could serve as a source for knowledge and inspiration to readers interested in the life and work of Maharshi Karve. The 233 page book was published by Popular Book Depot Mumbai in 1958 and I picked up a copy priced at rupees forty at the International Book Service at Deccan Gymkhana in Pune a few years ago.

Maharshi Karve – His 105 Years, published on his 106th birth anniversary, is a pictorial album depicting the life and activities of Maharshi Karve. In today’s parlance it may be called a ‘coffee table’ book, but it is a memorable reference book of lasting souvenir value which is a must for every library. The chronologically arranged sketches, photographs and captions tell Maharshi Karve’s life-story in a seamless manner. There are photographs of historical, heritage and sentimental value highlighting important milestones in his life and work. [If you want to see my picture, turn to page 98 and have a look at the small boy holding Maharshi Karve’s hands and looking at the camera. I may have been just one and a half years old then and barely able to stand!].

This book is indeed a ‘collector’s item’ and was priced at a princely sum of rupees ten at the time of publication.

If you wish to learn more about Maharshi Karve and draw inspiration from his life and work, do read these three books. And please do let us know if you come across literature on the life and work of Maharshi Dhondo Keshav Karve.

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2009Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this book review article.



Saturday, April 11, 2009

SHOR Information Processing Model

The SHOR Paradigm



“The man who insists upon seeing with perfect clearness before he decides, never decides” …Frederic Amiel

Decision-making is so pervasive that everyone, professionally or personally, is involved with making a variety of decisions.

In today’s fast-moving world, the timing of a decision is of paramount importance in many decision-making situations. In real life even the “perfect” decision may not be optimal if it is made too late.

Information is a vital resource in decision-making. One of the most important characteristics of successful managers is the ability to make the correct decision when confronted with imperfect or insufficient information (i.e.) Decision-making under conditions of uncertainty.

In the context of decision-processing, two realms or domains of uncertainty are:

1. Information Input Uncertainty which creates the need for hypothesis generation and evaluation;

2. Consequence-of-Action Uncertainty which creates the need for option generation and evaluation.


A decision taxonomy: The Stimulus – Hypothesis – Options – Response (SHOR) Paradigm, formulated by Wohl, is useful in such decision situations. The SHOR paradigm represents a qualitative, descriptive, model as distinct from a quantitative, predictive model, and comprises three primary decision-making task elements:

S: Stimulus Input Data Processing
H: Hypothesis Generation, Hypothesis Evaluation, Information Processing [What is?]
O: Option Generation, Option Evaluation, Decision-Making [What if?]
R: Response Output Action

The SHOR paradigm is basically an extension of the classical Stimulus – Response (SR) Paradigm of behaviourist psychology.

The SHOR paradigm provides explicitly for the necessity to deal with information input uncertainty and consequence-of-action uncertainty, and helps us understand some of the peculiar human factors that affect the quality of the decision-making and answering questions such as:

What makes some decision-makers perform better than others, especially in placing high-value assets at risk, in business?

What are the sources and dimensions of “poor” performance?


Based on the SHOR Model, human errors in decision-making appear to lie in four domains:

(S) Stimulus: “I didn’t know…”
(H) Hypothesis: “I didn’t understand…”
(O) Options: “I didn’t consider…”
(R) Response: “I didn’t act…”

Stimulus based errors of the type “I didn’t know…” result from lack or inadequacy of information, the true inability to obtain information.

“I didn’t understand…” is the fundamental result of information input uncertainty, while “I didn’t consider…” is the product of consequence-of-action uncertainty.

It is possible to have accessed all significant information, to have developed the correct hypothesis and to have selected the best option and yet fail to take appropriate action. The two possible reasons for the “I didn’t act…” type of response error are:

1. Paralysis: This is a complete failure to act, the pathological ‘observation of an inevitable course’ without intervention. It is caused by an over-riding emotional struggle in which some internal factor is being placed in conflict with the course of action selected by the decision-maker. The final scene in the evergreen classic film The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) exemplifies such a situation.

2. Misjudgement: The decision-maker correctly decides what to do but errs in either or both of the two dimensions – how [the specifics of the action] or when [the timing of the action].

Prediction of the critical consequences of inaction may be of some help in dealing with paralysis whilst the ability to perform sensitivity analyses may assist in alleviating misjudgement.

Any Decision-Maker [and designers of decision aids] must address the four cardinal types of errors epitomized by the SHOR paradigm: “I didn’t know…”, “I didn’t understand…”, “I didn’t consider…” and “I didn’t act…”


In the context of decision-making in uncertainty, the conflict theory paradigm developed by Janis and Mann may be apt. This paradigm postulates five patterns of coping behaviour which tends to occur in such situations:

1. Unconflicted Adherence in which the uncertain, or risk, information is ignored and the decision-maker complacently decides to continue whatever he has been doing.

2. Unconflicted Change to a new course of action, where the decision-maker uncritically adopts whichever new course of action is most salient, obvious or strongly recommended.

3. Defensive Avoidance in which the decision-maker evades conflict by procrastinating, shifting responsibility to someone else, or constructing wishful rationalisations and remaining selectively inattentive to corrective information.

4. Hypervigilance wherein the decision-maker searches frantically for a way out of the dilemma and impulsively seizes upon a hastily contrived solution that seems to promise immediate relief, overlooking the full range of consequences of his choice because of emotional excitement, repetitive thinking and cognitive constriction. In its most extreme form hypervigilance is referred to as “panic”.

5. Concerned Vigilance in which the decision-maker optimally processes pertinent information, generates and evaluates hypotheses and options before selecting a response as characterised by the SHOR paradigm.

In many real-life situations a decision-maker cannot always keep waiting until the entire information-input and consequence-of-action conditions are known a priori with certainty. In most cases there is no such thing as “perfect” certainty.

If a single most important characteristic is crucial to a decision-maker in any field, it is the ability to make optimal decisions in conditions of uncertainty. Qualitative descriptive models like the SHOR paradigm may prove useful in such situations.

To quote Frederic Amiel once again: “The man who insists upon seeing with perfect clearness before he decides, never decides”.


Copyright © Vikram Karve 2009
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.








[Training Philosophy]



I’ve been in Training Design for years in multifarious situations and requirements and I feel that the first step in designing a training programme is to mull over and decide as to which Training Philosophy, the Confucian or the Zen, is aptly relevant in the particular situation.

In the Confucian Training Philosophy the Aim of Training is to Qualify the Trainee for a more important job.

In other words, Training is inextricably linked with Career Advancement, and since Training is for promotion, if the training is not followed by promotion or career advancement quickly enough, non-realization of expectations may create frustration and resentment in the trainee.

In the Zen Training Philosophy the Purpose of Training is Continuous Improvement in Performance.

The aim is to improve present performance by focusing on excellence in work and self-development, strengthening the inner urge and enhancing requisite skills for work-excellence and job-satisfaction without the trainee expecting any tangible material or career advancement returns.

And of course, if you don’t believe if formal training programmes, there is always the good old time tested training philosophy which is breathtaking in its simplicity: “Entrust a man with responsibility and then tell him to get on with the job!”

It always works. You can take my word for it.






Academic Literature Monographs




Here are details of academic monographs written by me for students of Post Graduate Engineering ME ( Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering ) Courses at IAT now DIAT Deemed University Pune

Author(s) : KARVE, V.W.
Publisher : PUNE : IAT

Underwater Transducer Technology
Author(s) : Karve, V.W.
Publisher : Pune : IAT

Sonar Display Systems
Author(s) : Karve, V.W.
Publisher : Pune : IAT

Sonar Signal Processing Part 2 by Vikram Waman Karve
Author(s) : Karve, V.W.
Publisher : Pune : IAT

These monographs are available at DIAT Deemed University Library Pune





Post Graduate Dissertations




Post Graduate Dissertations guided by Prof Vikram Waman Karve at IAT [DIAT] Pune for ME [Electronics & Telecommunications Engineering] degree of University of Pune.

[Copies are available in DIAT Deemed University Library and University of Pune]

Year: 1992

1. Application of knowledge based systems in command and control / Manoj Bhatt
Author(s) : Bhatt, M. ; Karve, V.W. Guide
Publisher : Pune : DIAT, 1992

2. Simulation studies in naval threat scenario / S. Srinivasan
Author(s) : Srinivasan, S. ; Karve, V.W. Guide
Publisher : Pune : DIAT, 1992

3. Strap down inertial navigation system algorithms / C. Dayanand
Author(s) : Dayanand, C. ; Karve, V.W. Guide
Publisher : Pune : DIAT, 1992

Year: 1994

4. Application of expert system for data fusion in a multi-sensor environment for target identification / Vipin Thapar
Author(s) : Thapar, V. ; Karve, V.W. Guide
Publisher : Pune : DIAT, 1994

5. Performance evaluation of weapon systems based on MOE approach incorporating knowledge based systems / Ranjit Singh
Author(s) : Singh, R. ; Karve, V.W. Guide
Publisher : Pune : DIAT, 1994

6. Expert system design and application in weapon combat system, selection and analysis / Amit Rastogi
Author(s) : Rastogi, A. ; Karve, V.W. Guide
Publisher : Pune : DIAT, 1994

7. Naval weapon system design incorporating expert system / G. Jacob Panicker
Author(s) : Panicker, J. ; Karve, V.W. Guide
Publisher : Pune : DIAT, 1994

Year: 1995

8. Active sonar target classification using neural networks / Subroto Ghosh
Author(s) : Ghosh, S. ; Karve, V.W. Guide
Publisher : Pune : DIAT, 1995

9. Design of a hierarchy based information security system for multiuser computer systems and networks / P.P. Kulkarni
Author(s) : Kulkarni, P.P. ; Karve , V.W. Guide
Publisher : Pune : DIAT, 1995

10. Expert system application for multi sensor data fusion in robotic systems / P.K. Gupta
Author(s) : Gupta, P.K. ; Karve, V.W. Guide
Publisher : Pune : DIAT, 1995

11. Sonar based application of neural network / S. Ghosh
Author(s) : Ghosh, S. ; Karve, V.W. Guide
Publisher : Pune : DIAT - Seminar Paper

12. Fuzzy logic in navy / Subroto Ghosh
Author(s) : Ghosh, S. ; Karve, V.W. Guide
Publisher : Pune : DIAT - Seminar Paper

13. Electromagnetic interference prediction incorporating expert system / V.N. Ramesh
Author(s) : Ramesh, V.N. ; Karve, V.W. Guide
Publisher : Pune : DIAT, 1995

14. EMI / EMC in Marine Environment [ Seminar ] Ramesh, VN ; Karve, V W , Guide

15. Artificial Intelligence in Crypto Systems [ Seminar ] Kulkarni, PP ; Karve, V W , Guide

16. Artificial Intelligence in Radar System Performance Prediction [ Seminar ] Gupta, PK ; Karve, V W , Guide

17. Neural Networks [ Seminar ] Ghosh, S ; Karve, V W , Guide

Year: 1996

18. Virtual reality applications in combat systems / R.K. Pai
Author(s) : Pai, R.K. ; Karve , V.W. Guide
Publisher : Pune : DIAT, 1996

19. Command and control system - A fully integrated fault tolerant (FIFT) cybernetic based design / A. Madhavarao
Author(s) : Madhavarao, A. ; Karve , V.W. Guide
Publisher : Pune : DIAT, 1996

20. Design of a fuzzy logic based decision support system for combat systems operations and engineering / Santosh Nagarajan
Author(s) : Nagarajan, S. ; Karve , V.W. Guide
Publisher : Pune : DIAT, 1996

21. Design and development of optical fibre based hydrophone system for underwater warfare / Debashish Saha
Author(s) : Saha, D. ; Karve , V.W. Guide
Publisher : Pune : DIAT, 1996

22. Detection and Classification of Underwater Targets using the principle of Acoustic Daylight
Sen, S ; Karve , V W, Guide

23. Multi Function Array Radar [ Seminar ] Pai, RK ; Karve , V W , Guide

24. C2W System Effectiveness Analysis , Yadav VS ; Karve , V W , Guide

Year: 1997

25. Design optimization of optical fibre hydrophone system for sonar and underwater warfare applications / S. Shrikumar
Author(s) : Shrikumar, S. ; Karve, V.W. Guide
Publisher : Pune : DIAT, 1997

26. Three dimensional cube model for ship design, weapon selection wvaluation and installation / Manoj Tayal
Author(s) : Tayal, M. ; Karve, V.W. Guide
Publisher : Pune : DIAT, 1997

27. Knowledge based systems approach towards threat evaluation and weapon assignment / P. Kapadia
Author(s) : Kapadia, P. ; Karve, V.W. Guide
Publisher : Pune : DIAT, 1997

28. Comprehensive study of genetic algorithm as search, optimization and machine learning mechanism / Girish R. Pradhan
Author(s) : Pradhan, G.R. ; Karve, V.W. Guide
Publisher : Pune : DIAT, 1997

29. Real Time Multi Sensor Search and Track System Design, Musthafa KP ; Karve, V W , Guide

Year: 1998

30. Systems Approach Based Design and Development of Integrated Ship signature mangemenent system (DSS) for ship Design and C2W effectiveness / Gautam Naha
Author(s) : Naha, Gautam ; Karve, V.W. Guide
Publisher : Pune : DIAT, 1998

31. System analysis and design for modelling of command and control warfare sysrems for computer aided wargaming / D.K. Murali
Author(s) : Murali, D.K. ; Karve, V.W. Guide
Publisher : Pune : DIAT, 1998

32. Cybernetics system design and analysis using soft system dynamics / S.Sriram
Author(s) : Sriram, S. ; Karve, V.W. Guide
Publisher : Pune : DIAT, 1998

33. Design and development of an interoperability analysis model and decision support system for interoperability evaluation of maritime communication systems / U.V. Natu
Author(s) : Natu, U.V. ; Karve, V.W. Guide
Publisher : Pune : DIAT, 1998

34. Design and Optimization of Neural Network Based Sonar Classifier. S Pradeep Kumar ; Karve , V W , Guide

35. Performance evaluation of SAM Systems, Berry, R ; Karve , V W , Guide

Year: 1999

36. Vulnerability modelling for a warship / M. Ramesh
Author(s) : Ramesh, M. ; Karve, V.W. Guide
Publisher : Pune : DIAT, 1999

37. Performance evaluation of computer communication networks / Vijay Singh
Author(s) : Singh, V. ; Karve, V.W. Guide
Publisher : Pune : DIAT, 1999

38. Soft systems approach to the design of the naval command & control warfare system in the information operations scenario / Rajesh Debnath
Author(s) : Debnath, R. ; Karve, V.W. Guide
Publisher : Pune : DIAT, 1999

[To be continued…]

[Copies of the above dissertations are available in DIAT Deemed University Library Pune]






RESEARCH PAPERS on SSM written at IAT now DIAT Deemed University PUNE



Here are a few research papers and articles written by me and my students during the later part of my tenure from 1991 to 2000 as faculty in IAT Pune when we studied, explored, researched and carried out post graduate dissertation work in the fascinating subjects of Soft Systems Methodology, System Dynamics Approach [ SSM SD ] and their applications in Electronics, Communications, Systems Engineering and various aspects of Management and Technology.

Almost a decade has passed and, maybe, a lot of work has since been done in SSM - SD. We hope to renew our interest in this promising area of SSM - SD.

1. Design of futuristic electromagnetic conflict (EC) systems using soft systems modelling-system dynamics (SSM-SD) methodology.

Debnath, Rajesh and Karve, Vikram Waman

International Conference on Electromagnetic Interference and Compatibility 1999 New Delhi, India, 6-8 December, [INCEMIC 1999], pp 143 – 148.



Full Paper:



2. A Soft Systems Methodology – Systems Dynamics (SSM-SD) Based Approach to Re-Engineering EMI / EMC Regulations and Standards.

Debnath, R and Karve, Vikram Waman

15th International Wroclaw Symposium and Exhibition on Electromagnetic Compatibility, Poland, June 27 – 30, 2000, EMC 2000, pp 466 – 475.

Please Click the link below to read the paper:


The above two papers are based on postgraduate Master of Engineering [ ME ] University of Pune dissertation [1999] titled Soft Systems approach to the design of command & control systems in the information operations scenario by Rajesh Debnath

Guide: Vikram Waman Karve

Full Dissertation available in DIAT Deemed University Library, Pune.

3. Expert System Using Electromagnetic Interference And Electromagnetic Compatibility Based Criteria For Ship Design, Weapon Selection And EvaluationKarve, Vikram Waman and Tayal Manoj Proceedings of the International Conference on Electromagnetic Interference and Compatibility 1997 [3-5 Dec. 1997] pp 87 – 92

Please click the link below to read the paper:http://www.ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?arnumber=669772&isnumber=14770
The paper is based on Master of Engineering [ ME ] University of Pune Dissertation [1997] titled Three dimensional cube model for ship design, weapon selection, evaluation and installation by Tayal, M.

Guide: Vikram Waman Karve

Full Dissertation available in DIAT Deemed University Library, Pune.

4. A Decision Support System Design Incorporating Soft Systems Approach.

Murali, D. K. and Karve, V. W.

IT for the New Generation, Proceedings of the 33rd Annual Convention of the Computer Society of India, September 16-20, 1998, New Delhi, India, pp 229 - 237.

5. Ethics, Values and Technology.

Karve, V. W.

Invited Paper, Plenary Session,

International Conference on Cognitive Systems [ICCS 1998], Dec 13th – 15th, New Delhi, India, pp cii - cix.

6. Systems Cybernetic Re-Engineering for Empowering Human Performance: A Soft System Dynamics Approach.

Sriram, S and Karve, V.W.

International Conference on Cognitive Systems [ICCS 1998]

7. Reengineering the Human Resource - A Soft Systems Approach.

Karve, V. W. and Sriram. S,

Seminar on HR Strategies for Naval Repair Yards, Naval Dockyard, Mumbai , 06 Nov 1998.

8. Soft Systems Paradigm for Modelling a Production Enterprise.

Karve, V. W. and Sriram, S.

All India Seminar on Design of Production Systems – New Concepts, Bhubaneshwar, Orissa, 26th July 1998.

9. In addition to presenting the above paper, I was invited as Chief Speaker and delivered the keynote address on “Soft Systems Paradigms in Engineering Management” at this All India Seminar on Design of Production Systems

10. Coping with Cupid: A Soft Systems Approach.

Karve, V. W. and Debnath, R.

Journal of Defence Management, Vol. 26, No. 2, Nov 1999 – Apr 2000, pp 1 - 15.

11. Soft Systems Approach to Ethical Management – Putting Ethics before Business

Karve, V.W.

Indian Management Journal, Vol. 36, No. 10, Oct 1997, pp 51 – 53.

12. Soft Systems Methodology - System Dynamics Approach to Total Quality Management.

Karve, V. W. and Debnath, R.

National Conference on Quality Engineering on Aerospace Technologies, (QUEST 99), Bangalore, 20-21 August 1999.

13. A Soft Systems Approach to restructuring higher technical education in India.

Debnath, R. and Karve, V. W.

Fifth International Conference on Cognitive Systems (ICCS 99), New Delhi, 15-18 December 1999.

14. Ethical Quality Standards.

Karve, V. W.

Journal of Marine Engineering, Vol. 39 No. 1, June 1999.

15. A System Dynamics Approach to Quality Management in the Naval Scenario Incorporating the Soft Systems Methodology Perspective.

Karve, V.W. and Debnath, R.

Journal of Marine Engineering, Vol. 39 No. 1, June 1999.

16. A Systems Dynamics Approach to Quality Planning and Management in Shipbuilding industry incorporating Soft Systems Methodology perspective.

Karve, V. W. and. Debnath, R

International Maritime Conference, [INMEX 99], 7-8 October 1999, Goa.

[Copies of all the above papers have been compiled by the DIAT Deemed University Library in the Annual Compendium of Published Papers IAT Spectrum 1999 and 2000 and are available for reference in the DIAT Deemed University Library Pune]