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Crisis in Happiness (A)

ET Cases, 7 Pages
AUTHOR(S) : Arti Sharma, Doctoral Student & Prof. Sushanta Kumar Mishra, Professor - IIM Indore

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Crisis in Happiness (A)1


“I announce the 15th graduation ceremony open”, announced Mr. O. P. Pradhan, the Chairman of Global Management Institute (GMI), Janithpur. The ceremony started on March 24th 2014 at 7:00 pm after a two hour delay which is unusual in the history of GMI. As part of the ceremony, the students need to walk up the dais to collect their certificates from the Chairman. However, this time it was uncommon. Many students were receiving their certificates with fractured limbs, injured bodies while some students were conferred the degree in absentia as they were struggling with their life in the hospital. The parents, visitors who travelled all the way to Janithpur were in tears, seeing their kids injured and getting their certificates............


Exhibit I: The Graduation Ceremony - Tradition & Regalia

Exhibit II: Brief Profile of Prof. L.K. Mehta

1 This case is based on a true incident. However, the name of the institute and the name of the officials were changed.

Teaching Note Preview

Crisis in Happiness (A&B)



Crisis denotes the times of extreme difficulty or danger1characterized by high degree of uncertainty, turbulence and chaos which can deeply shake the existence of an organization if not handled effectively. The part (A) of the case presents the sudden crisis situation that happened at GMI on the most awaited graduation day that injured many students. It also depicts the anguish of parents and students. The media was hauling for getting an official statement. The history of institute has never seen such an incident and senior officials were finding it difficult to handle the situation. The case will help students to understand the (1) difficulties that emerge out of the crisis situations and how to handle it effectively (2) the critical tasks during a crisis and (3) to explore how a leader can help the organization to revive from the unfortunate incident of uncertainty characterized by clouds of confusion, lack of trust, time pressure, information asymmetries and pressures from external and internal stakeholders. The case (B) explains the course of actions actually taken by the director of GMI business school to manage the crisis situation ensuring that such incidence does not happen ever again.

Position and Use

The case can be used for teaching in courses such as the management of crisis response, strategy and leadership in the times of uncertainty, crisis management and emergency preparedness and Disaster relief and recovery to post graduate and executive education program in Crisis leadership, Crisis management, Personnel management, adversarial leadership and Industrial training programs at different business schools. The case focuses on the personal experiences and challenges of a crisis situation that helps students to learn how to personally deliver as a leader with accountability, responsibility within a short time frame in emergency circumstances.

1 Refer for Crisis meaning,, Accessed on August 21st 2016

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Product code: OB-2-0063(a), OB-2-0063(A)


The part (A) of the case presents the sudden crisis situation that happened at GMI Business School on the most awaited graduation day which injured many students. The stage built for the students, faculty members and guests for the group photograph session suddenly collapsed, inflicting serious injury to the students. The  atmosphere of joy and celebration of the graduation day soon turned into a chaotic scene.

The first part (Part A) of the case helps the instructor to present the

(1) difficulties that emerge out of the crisis situations
(2) how to handle it effectively and
(3) the critical tasks during a crisis.


Pedagogical Objective

To present the critical nature of leadership in a crisis situation faced by one of the premier management institute in India and then providing an insight on leading amidst crisis by analyzing critical tasks and the effective media handling during the process.

Case Positioning and Setting

The case can be used in courses on crisis leadership, crisis management and emergency preparedness, disaster management, personnel management, adversarial leadership and industrial training program at different business schools.

This Case Pack Includes:
- Abstract
- Caselet
- Teaching Note (**ONLY for Academicians)
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