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Alkem Laboratories: managing employee motivation during pandemics

Subrat Sarangi (Department of Business Management and Strategic Marketing, Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad, India)
Ashok Priyadarshi (Department of Human Resources, Alkem Laboratories Limited, Mumbai, India)
Gloryson R.B. Chalil (Xavier School of Management, XLRI, Jamshedpur, India)
Rasananda Panda (Department of Business Management, Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad, India)

Publication date: 5 July 2022

Issue publication date: 25 August 2022


Theoretical basis

The case dwells with the following theoretical concepts: Appreciate the different need dimensions required to motivate different employee types based on need theory (Alderfer, 1969). Identify the functional needs as per Maslow’s need hierarchy (Hall & Naougaim, 1968) for the permanent and contractual workers. Outline why only hygiene factors are insufficient to arrest worker absenteeism during a pandemic like COVID-19. Apply need theory and “Herzberg’s two-factor theory” (Herzberg, 1966; Herzberg et al., 1957) to enumerate the measures that need to be implemented to build supply chain resilience by reducing absenteeism by motivating employees.

Research methodology

The case is based on primary research carried out by the authors at Alkem Laboratories Ltd., Sikkim unit in India, during the COVID-19 pandemic that hit the company leading to high absenteeism of contractual workers.

Case overview/Synopsis

Alkem Laboratories Ltd. is a leading pharma major from India with a global footprint. At the break of COVID-19 pandemic, the manufacturing unit of the company at Sikkim is facing the scare of mass absenteeism, especially among the contractual workers who account for 60% of the workforce of the unit. Ashok Priyadarshi (Vice President, Human Resources) and his team along with the think tank of the unit have to find a solution to the problem at hand. What shall be the measures that the think tank will propose? The team sets out to find an answer to these questions so that Alkem could seize the business opportunity at the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Complexity academic level

The case is suitable for undergraduate- and graduate-level courses in organizational behavior, organizational change and development and supply chain risk management. The case can also be positioned for executive education and training modules in companies on employee motivation and commitment.



Disclaimer: This case is intended to be used as the basis for class discussion rather than to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. The case was compiled from published sources.


Sarangi, S., Priyadarshi, A., Chalil, G.R.B. and Panda, R. (2022), "Alkem Laboratories: managing employee motivation during pandemics", , Vol. 18 No. 5, pp. 786-801.



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