To read this content please select one of the options below:

Rocky road? Driving gender diversity & inclusion in Cummins India through inclusive leadership

Sumita Datta (Department of Organization and Leadership Studies, S.P. Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai, India)
Snehal Shah (Department of Organization and Leadership Studies, S.P. Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai, India)

Publication date: 16 December 2022


Learning outcomes

1. To understand the importance of creating and implementing a vision for enhancing gender diversity and inclusion relevant to the manufacturing and engineering sector in an emerging market.

2. To develop insights into the vision and characteristics of an inclusive leader.

3. To evaluate the strategies and organizational levers that created and nurtured a climate of gender diversity and inclusion in Cummins India.

4. To identify organizational levers that will enable the sustenance and institutionalization of a climate of inclusion.

Case overview/synopsis

This case study traces a 16-year journey of diversity and inclusion at Cummins India, a subsidiary of the Fortune 500 manufacturing organization Cummins Inc. headquartered in the US. Initially spearheaded by Anant Talaulicar, and then continued by Ashwath Ram, gender D&I initiative at Cummins India has made significant strides. Talaulicar had an opportunity to immerse himself in the ethos of the parent company before joining the Indian subsidiary.

In India during the early 2000s the external environment was characterized by rapid technological and regulatory changes and increasing complexity. To make matters more difficult, the internal culture was steeped in a traditional manufacturing mindset marked by dismal female participation rate and an over-representation of locals with similar beliefs and value systems.

Given the mammoth task already taken up by Talaulicar by improving the diversity numbers from 3% to 33%, Ram had big shoes to fill. On one hand, he had to drive the business amidst uncertain market conditions; on the other hand, he had to carry on a legacy. Given that he himself had a lived experience of Cummins global values, he knew D&I was an integral part of the Cummins way of life. His familiarity with the socio-cultural challenges of the country coupled with his drive to continue and rejuvenate the D&I agenda, brought some interesting, yet challenging, questions for him. With the internal and external pressures looming large before him, could he institutionalize a climate of inclusion that could serve as a strategic lever to place the company on the path of growth, vibrancy and economic prosperity?

Through qualitative research conducted by the authors, this case study brought out learnings pertaining to linkage of leadership in creating a climate of inclusion and expansion of talent diversity through a set of people strategies and HR practices. The contribution of this case study is primarily to theory and practice in the field of Human Resource Management, D&I as well as in developing inclusive leadership.

Complexity academic level

MBA programs and leadership development programs

Supplementary materials

Teaching notes are available for educators only.

Subject code

CSS 6: Human Resource Management.



Prerna Joshi supported the authors in primary and secondary data collection for preparing the case study.

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.


Datta, S. and Shah, S. (2022), "Rocky road? Driving gender diversity & inclusion in Cummins India through inclusive leadership", , Vol. 12 No. 4.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles