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Resource cell for juvenile justice: challenges of motivation of social workers

Mihir Ajgaonkar (Department of People and Performance, S.P. Jain Institute of Management Studies and Research, Mumbai, India)
Keith D’Souza (Department of People and Performance, S.P. Jain Institute of Management Studies and Research, Mumbai, India)
K.P. Asha Mukundan (Centre for Criminology, Tata Institute of Social Sciences School of Social Work, Mumbai, India)

Publication date: 9 April 2020


Learning outcomes

The learning outcomes are as follows: understanding issues involved in the employee motivation, particularly those engaged in social change and development in emerging economies; develop insights into how to motivate team members by drawing on relevant theories of motivation; and orient students towards the application of these theories in the organization.

Case overview/synopsis

Resource cell for juvenile justice (RCJJ) was initiated as a field action project at the centre for criminology and justice, Tata Institute of Social Sciences with the objective of working on issues of children with a special focus on juveniles in conflict with law (JCL). RCJJ aimed at highlighting the socio-legal issues of juvenile children who were in conflict of law providing aid to these children and their families, and working towards their eventual social reintegration. RCJJ also trained stakeholders in the juvenile justice system and facilitated rehabilitation and social integration of JCLs as directed by the juvenile justice boards (JJBs). RCJJ had teams at six places within India. These teams worked with various government institutions, parents and JCLs to eventually effect change in the conditions of JCLs. The social workers engaged by RCJJ had a challenging task of facilitating social integration of the children, in coordination with the police, JJBs, families and lawyers. They had to actively manage help desks at the judicial observation homes where JCLs were housed. The social workers were under great stress because of antagonism from lawyers and police. The JJBs were prejudiced against them for being “outside watchdogs”. This resulted in high demotivation and attrition among employees. Jyoti Mhatre, project manager, interviewed past and present field workers to gauge the extent and reasons for demotivation. This intervention highlighted the positive and negative aspects of the organizational culture and the stress points that were causing demotivation. The situation was alarming and Jyoti had to develop an action plan to improve the motivation of the social workers to bring down the attrition.

Complexity academic level

Courses in human resource management, organizational behaviour and general management as part of masters-level programmes in business administration and management, and executive development programmes on employee motivation for middle/senior management.

Supplementary materials

Teaching Notes are available for educators only.

Subject code

CSS 6: Human resource management.



Disclaimer. This case is written solely for educational purposes and is not intended to represent successful or unsuccessful managerial decision-making. The authors may have disguised names; financial and other recognizable information to protect confidentiality.


Ajgaonkar, M., D’Souza, K. and Mukundan, K.P.A. (2020), "Resource cell for juvenile justice: challenges of motivation of social workers", , Vol. 10 No. 1.



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