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Tata group and business response to disability (1951 to 1992) medical interventions, rehabilitation, and livelihood

Sanjukta Choudhury Kaul (Management Department, Bina Nusantara University, Jakarta, Indonesia)
Nandini Ghosh (Institute of Development Studies, Kolkata, India)

Journal of Management History

ISSN: 1751-1348

Article publication date: 13 June 2023

Issue publication date: 11 January 2024

171

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to trace Tata Group’s role in responding to disability in the decades immediately following India’s independence until the preliberalization period of the Indian economy, i.e. from the 1950s to the 1990s.

Design/methodology/approach

This study’s methodology entailed a historiographical approach and archival engagement at Tata Archives (Pune, India) of the company documents. Materials and records of the Tata Company between 1942 and 1992.

Findings

Adopting the corporate culture lens, the study findings show that Tata Group demonstrated an active prosocial corporate approach toward disability. In a period governed by the ideology of a state-dominated developmental approach, Tata Group’s initiatives were related to medical interventions for a wide spectrum of disabilities, rehabilitation and efforts to ensure persons with disabilities (PWDS)’ livelihood.

Originality/value

Disability, in the neoliberalized economic landscape of India, is an emergent business issue for companies espousing workplace diversity. The historical understanding of business engagement with disability from postindependence to liberalization in India remains, however, limited. In postindependence India, the passive business response to disability emerged within an ethical and discretionary framework, with charity and philanthropy as the main modes of engagement. In this background, this paper explores Tata’s response to disability and PWDs, which was distinct.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Mr Rajendra Prasad Narla, Archivist and his team at Tata Central Archive for their support and guidance while conducting this research.

Disclosure statement: No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.

Citation

Choudhury Kaul, S. and Ghosh, N. (2024), "Tata group and business response to disability (1951 to 1992) medical interventions, rehabilitation, and livelihood", Journal of Management History, Vol. 30 No. 1, pp. 116-139. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMH-12-2022-0078

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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