Academic journal article South Asian Journal of Management

Leadership and Change Management in a Crisis Situation: A Case about Administration of an Indian District Collectorate

Academic journal article South Asian Journal of Management

Leadership and Change Management in a Crisis Situation: A Case about Administration of an Indian District Collectorate

Article excerpt

This paper presents a case study which examines organizational behavior themes in Indian district administration. It discusses and then puts forth analyses of leadership and change management issues. Using narrative techniques, the case begins with a confrontation between a newly appointed district collector, Pradeep Pandey and Mukul Bahadur, a leader of agitating farmers. Pandey decides to deal with the matter with an iron fist. He arranges to have Bahadur arrested when he crosses into Nandinagar district. At the same time, Pandey effects change in the District Collectorate's functioning. He uses the edgy situation created by the Mukul Bahasur arrest, to keep the Nandinagar District Collectorate personnel on their toes. He wants them to display greater initiative and work dedication. Pandey soon finds that motivating and leading his staff is easier said than done. The case culminates in an analysis of Pandey's leadership style and efforts to introduce change within the existing structure of the Nandinagar district collectorate.

It was 2.00 a.m. on the first of August. Pradeep Pandey leaned back in his swivel chair and wiped his eyes wearily. He had assumed office as District Magistrate of Nandinagar district, less than a month back. He had been working an average of seventeen hours a day to familiarize himself with his district. He was not surprised at the drama unfolding before his eyes. But he could not help cogitating over the decision he had taken and turning it over in his mind.

It had all begun with a phone call his Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Sudarshan Singh had received from a neighboring district. Singh had been informed that a powerful farmers' leader of that region, Mukul Bahadur was coming to Nandinagar on July 30th instead of August 1st, as had been initially announced. Bahadur had emphatically declared at several public meetings that he would stage a dharna on the grounds of the Nandinagar Collectorate, to press for the demands of the Indian Farmers' Federation (IFF). The prime demand was that the controversial issue regarding the compensation to be paid to Nandinagar farmers for land acquired by the Nandinagar Land Authority (NLA) be resolved in the farmers' favor. Bahadur's demands would ripple effects in several other leading districts where land settlement cases were pending in the courts. Bahadur had 3 years earlier, successfully staged demonstrations at the state capital, in front of the office of the state home secretary. Adminis trative functioning had come to a standstill on th at occasion. Subsequently, the sta te person. The state government had also declared null and void, the enhancement of electricity charges made at that time by the State Electricity Board. These were major concessions gained by the IFF, and a triumph for Bahadur.

Pandey had found out certain facts about Nandinagar, as soon as he got there. He found that at the time that he joined, Nandinagar district had one of the highest criminalization rates in India. According to Pandey's colleague Yogesh Diratta, then Vice-Chairman of the Nandinagar Land Authority (NLA), an average of two wealthy factory owners were kidnapped each day by Nandinagar criminals. These factory owners

At this time, Nandinagar district was also the most industrially advanced in the state. Several leading business houses had started factories in Nandinagar. There were approximately 10,000 fully operational industrial units running in Nandinagar. Pandey felt honored when assigned to Nandinagar as its District Collector, as it was considered both an important district as well as a difficult one to administer. It was where he could distinguish himself if he succeeded or garner a lot of adverse publicity if he failed. He knew it would be one or the other, as he did not believe in half- measures.

Nandinagar district had been created fourteen years before Pandey took office, when 7,500 acres of land had been acquired from 23 villages in that region by the state government. …

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