Panel 8: Douglas Ensminger and Ford Foundation - Building an Institution
Dr. Douglas Ensminger (1910-1989), a rural sociologist, was appointed as the Ford Foundation representative for India and Pakistan in November 1951 and oversaw the foundation's activities in India for the next two decades. In the 1950s he articulated the need for management education to be provided by autonomous institutes that were not constrained by the hierarchies of the traditional university system. This vision aligned with that of the Government of India, which began to appreciate the need for management education during the development of India's second Five-Year Plan (1956-61). The Ford Foundation partnered with the Ministry of Scientific Research and Cultural Affairs, headed by Humayun Kabir, to develop management education with the help of American universities.
The Ford Foundation partnered with the Ministry of Scientific Research and Cultural Affairs, headed by Humayun Kabir, to develop management education with the help of American universities.
This ultimately led to the partnerships of the Harvard Business School with the Indian Institute of Management at Ahmedabad and the Alfred P. Sloan School of Management (MIT) with the institute at Kolkata. Ensminger took a keen interest in the progress of the IIMs and attended several board meetings as a special invitee.
IIMA received close to USD 3 million from the Ford Foundation in its first decade. One of the last grants to IIMA was for a novel Hewlett-Packard timesharing computer system in 1970. The IIMA team was led by Prof. J. G. Krishnayya and N. R. Narayana Murthy as systems analyst. Narayana Murthy later co-founded Infosys in 1981, became Chairperson of the IIMA Board of Governors in 2002 and was elected to the Ford Foundation Board of Trustees in 2008.
"It was the Planning Commission that really took the policy decision to support the creation of the management institutes outside the universities... The Planning Commission also gave direction to the policy decision that this new institute was to be registered under the Indian Societies Act, which meant it would be a non-government institution, having its own board of governors, being free to lay down its own policies with respect to salaries, and the faculty being able to participate in consultations and all other matters relating to the institute."