Socialists have argued that ascribed status is a significant factor in determining social status and is pervasive in the professional sphere in India despite the historical advents of British colonization and Indian independence from Britain and the subsequent development of reservation policies.
Studies on caste and occupations do not discuss the effects of merit and competition on ascribed status and social ties because they claim that the changes are not significant.
However, no empirical study has considered the prevalence of meritocracy in knowledge-based professions and firms affected by global outsourcing or its influence on social and professional alliances arising out of the new economy’s demand for cheap and highly educated white collar professionals.
This study explains the significance of credentials as indicators of merit for employment in prestigious firms in the Indian software industry. The main aims of the study are to;
show how credentials such as engineering degrees and jobs in high status software firms influence social and professional ties
look at the effects of corporate hiring procedures on meritocracy
Caste politics and preferences have certainly not disappeared in the post-liberalized Indian economy. While macro level changes in India’s caste identities and politics have a long way to go before equality is a reality of all despite their ascribed status, it is important nevertheless to document some micro level changes which have largely been ignored because they are statistically under-represented.
The software industry was chosen for this study because it has been a lynchpin in the post liberalized Indian economy, with an enormous social influence in the way its employees have become upwardly and globally mobile.
This paper highlights that the Indian software industry, with its large influx of local and foreign investment, has introduced unprecedented credential competition based on merit due to its complex and diverse global networking and skilled labor needs, as it primarily serves a very competitive export market.
Results of the study show the following;
the advent of foreign direct investment in form of multinational software firms into India has induced unprecedented competition for skilled English speaking knowledge workers
this has induced meritocracy in hiring practices and thereby professional networking
knowledge professionals need to fit well into this model to succeed either as employees or in their own start-ups
firms benefit from promoting Unitarian values of hard work, lifelong learning and simplicity rather than caste values