Title: Turnaround of the Indian Railways: a public ownership saga

Authors: Desh Gupta, Milind Sathye

Addresses: Faculty of Business & Government, University of Canberra, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia. ' Faculty of Business & Government, University of Canberra, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia

Abstract: The reported turnaround of the Indian Railways (IR) has attracted wide notice. This article locates the enterprise within the broader Indian public sector and explores the factors that led to the turnaround from a low performing organisation to a high performing one. The case study method is used, with the developing theory of enterprise turnaround underpinning the case study. The theory suggests that turnaround successes need to be understood in terms not only of managerial actions, but also of favourable environmental conditions. This study reveals that both managerial leadership and good luck contributed to the turnaround success of the IR. There was no element of privatisation (apart from some limited outsourcing) within this turnaround. All happened within the context of full public (governmental) ownership. An underlying suggestion is that more such studies could help authorities assess and improve public enterprise performance.

Keywords: Indian Railways; public sector management; enterprise turnaround; India; public ownership; low performing organisations; high performing organisations; leadership; privatisation; outsourcing; public sphere; public policy.

DOI: 10.1504/IJPP.2010.029783

International Journal of Public Policy, 2010 Vol.5 No.1, pp.86 - 102

Published online: 02 Dec 2009 *

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