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PRISM philosophy: empowering women in COVID times!

Soma Arora (Research Guidance Unlimited, Mahagun, India)

Publication date: 23 June 2021


Study level/applicability

The case is suitable for all post-graduate students and executives doing a course in human resource management (HRM). The case will enable these students to apply concepts such as inclusion, empowerment, glass ceiling, in business situations involving women. It will help them to trace the evolution path for women employees who have the traits to lead a department or organisation and assume entrepreneurial roles.

Subject Area

The case study is particularly beneficial for MBA students specialising in HRM focussed on leadership and training. It can be used in courses such as gender and entrepreneurship for students of MBA entrepreneurship and MBA family business management. As the case is written in India, it can explore the gender issues in emerging markets surreptitiously. Most importantly, the case addresses COVID-19 perspective adequately, to teach modules embedded in main courses of any MBA program.

Case overview

PRISM World Pvt Ltd is a leading training and consultancy firm in Delhi, India. The firm is owned and managed by a young woman Dr Anubha Walia. She started her career as a human resource manager in leading Indian companies, but somewhere down the line, she felt the job was not allowing her to realise the fullest potential. The Indian corporate training industry was male dominated with self-serving men, supporting the “glass ceiling”. To break the barrier, Anubha opened her training firm founded on the basis of a new philosophy, which should serve the ideals of helping and promoting women in workplace. This new philosophy was called PRISM. Anubha provided an inclusive environment which allowed her trainers to grow and feel empowered in a gender-biased industry.Very recently, when COVID-19 pandemic happened, female trainers were under tremendous strain as training requirements completely dried up, and they were rendered jobless. Most of these educated young women had small kids and paid monthly installments for their home loans, sharing the financial burden with their husbands. Some mature trainers were single women who had to support themselves through savings in these difficult times. But Anubha’s sense of empowerment at PRISM helped these women to do things which made their livelihoods turnaround even in uncertain circumstances. PRISM philosophy made a turnaround too. While employees were thinking of abandoning their companies and vice-versa, trainers at PRISM went for free webinars to draw clients to their firms and changed the concept of training and delivery in corona times.PRISM acquired a new meaning of wellness and spirituality in these difficult times and soared ahead successfully.

Expected learning outcomes

The case study hopes to achieve the following pedagogical objectives: 1. To educate students on manners and traits of women entrepreneurs. Besides, the usual difficulties of financing and running a business, women face adversities at home in the form of lack of access to working capital, trust deficit amongst family and friends. Basically, lack of support system to propels women into the tougher role of an entrepreneur graduating from a regular employee. Gender becomes a disability, which women had to fight in the workplace. The case introduces the PRISM philosophy as a unique methodology to inculcate inclusivity in work environment leading to women empowerment. 2. To outline all issues related to ‘glass ceiling” – the barrier which existed in the corporate world for businesswomen. Students need to know about problems women faced in the business environment as well as shortcomings within themselves, which can make them unproductive. 3. To align students first hand with the challenges of COVID-19 pandemic, specific to women. The case talks about educated young and mature women in Anubha’s firm PRISM, fighting for lost livelihood owing to reduced levels of business. But women are known to be highly resilient and empowered in the right direction will turnaround the situation in their favour.

Supplementary materials

Teaching notes are available for educators only. Please contact your library to gain login details or email to request teaching notes.

Social implications

The case has tremendous social implication for educated working women in traditional patriarchal Indian societies. Though a sizeable percentage of women have achieved higher education and started working in a male-dominated corporate world, only a small number of them are visible as entrepreneurs and/or leaders. Every woman needs to trace her journey from an employee to an entrepreneur or a CEO to assume a position of leadership. This case can be an eye opener for many such ambitious women who can build small- to mid-size businesses in a short span of time. Digital intervention is very important in COVID times to stay afloat. The author has shared links for many videos which can disseminate ideas for digital transformation in businesses. The case tries to showcase an ideal inclusive environment which will propel women to achieve their latent goals and desires breaking the 'glass ceiling.'

Subject code

CSS 3: Entrepreneurship.



Arora, S. (2021), "PRISM philosophy: empowering women in COVID times!", .



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Soma Arora.

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