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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)


“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............

Global Management Institute

The Global Management Institute is the dream child of the industrialist Late Nand Kishore Pradhan, who envisioned the need of skilled world class managers in India. The institute was set up with the prime objective of providing business education at par with the premier institute of national and international repute. The institute was headed by the director, appointed for four years, who works independently for most of the routine activities. The overall operational strategies and administration of GMI vest in the hands of the GMI education trust................

The Graduation Ceremony

Every year the graduation ceremony (Exhibit I) at GMI is organized in the month of March for all the graduating students in different programs It is a very special day for the graduating students as well as for the institute. This year too, students with their parents and relatives were in the campus to witness the final occasion, on the occasion of their ‘graduation day’...........

The Incident

The second round of rehearsal was over. The faculty members headed toward their chambers and the graduating batch were walking towards the lawn a few meters away from the main building. A multistoried wooden structure temporarily erected on the lawns. There were rows of chairs at the foot of the structure. The chief guest, director, board members, program coordinators would occupy the chairs..............

The Backlash

After the unfortunate incident, the institute decided to continue with the graduation ceremony on the same day with a two hour delay. As the convocation ceremony proceeded further, the student community started shooting mails to institute administration, faculties and staff members reflecting their rage on the institute’s carelessness, improper arrangements and apathetic attitude in holding the convocation the same day of the accident............


Exhibit I: The Graduation Ceremony - Tradition & Regalia

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

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.

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