The case is suitable for MBA/MS students.
The famous Taj Mahal Palace and Towers became the centre of one of the most deadly terrorist attacks in the Indian sub continent on the night of 26 November 2008, which became famous as “26/11”. Terrorists created havoc shooting guests on sight and throwing grenades. The attacks lasted for three days but all of the four terrorists who entered Taj were killed. The terrorists had killed 160 people across Mumbai. Of these, 36 died at the Taj Mahal Palace and Towers, Mumbai. The dead included 14 guests, most of whom were foreign nationals. However, due to the selfless and extraordinary behavior of the employees and the staff of Taj, many guests were saved. They put forth an extraordinary example justifying the Indian code of conduct towards guests, “Atithi Devo Bhav” meaning “Guest is God”. In spite of knowing back exits and hiding spots, the employees did not flee, instead helping guests. The employees' behavior during the crisis saved the lives of nearly300 guests. This gesture of Taj employees was much talked about, but it was amusing even for the management to explain why they behaved in that manner. The condition of Taj after the attacks was so disastrous that it would have been profitable to leave the hotel as it was rather than reopening it. This, however, would have dented the Taj brand as a whole, as well as the spirit of all employees and staff who had behaved bravely. Taj started its restoration and reopened a part of the Taj Mahal Palace and Towers on 21 December 2008. It became operational by August 2010. The case provides an opportunity to closely examine employee behavior in an extreme crisis situation, and the possible reasons and motivation behind such exceptional behavior which ultimately helped to sustain the Taj brand. However, the scope of the case can also be extended to illustrate recovery efforts typical to service industries.
Expected learning outcomes
The case is designed to enable students to understand: the employees role in service delivery; the service profit chain; the relationship between profitability, customer loyalty, employee satisfaction and loyalty, and productivity; service failure; service recovery; and the service recovery paradox.
Teaching notes are available. Please consult your librarian for access.
Please note that two final year MBA students (Batch of 2012 at IBS Hyderabad, IFHE University), Siddharth Shukla and Abishek Kumar, were involved in preparing the first draft of the case. The author would like to acknowledge their contribution in the published case.
CitationDownload as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited