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Turnaround of the Indian Railways: a public ownership saga


  • Desh Gupta
  • Milind Sathye


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Desh Gupta & Milind Sathye, 2010. "Turnaround of the Indian Railways: a public ownership saga," International Journal of Public Policy, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 5(1), pages 86-102.
  • Handle: RePEc:ids:ijpubp:v:5:y:2010:i:1:p:86-102

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Laaser, Claus-Friedrich & Schrader, Klaus, 1992. "Zur Reintegration der baltischen Staaten in die Weltwirtschaft," Open Access Publications from Kiel Institute for the World Economy 1526, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    2. Niles Hansen, 1991. "Factories in Danish Fields: How High-Wage, Flexible Production has Succeeded in Peripheral Jutland," International Regional Science Review, , vol. 14(2), pages 109-132, August.
    3. Dani Rodrik, 2000. "How Far Will International Economic Integration Go?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(1), pages 177-186, Winter.
    4. Gunther Tichy, 1998. "Geography lost and found in economics," ERSA conference papers ersa98p23, European Regional Science Association.
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