Governing Changes in Government: The Water Story of Mahabubnagar

p s james

Dr. (Colonel) P.S James


Varma, H. R., Kakani, R. K., & Poovathingal, J. S. (2021).
The CASE Journal.



Theoretical basis

Kotter’s framework of change management adapted to the situation of public policy implementation
under the leadership of a civil service officer in the rural areas of a developing economy in South

Research methodology

This case has been written using the primary data collected from the protagonist through personal
and computer-based interviews. Some of the documents associated with the event shared by the
protagonist are also reproduced as case exhibits. Secondary data from government official websites
were also used to enrich the case.

Case overview/synopsis

Mahbubnagar, an arid agricultural district in central India faced the threat of a water crisis owing to
the unscientific water extraction by the resident farmers. The government appointed a task force to
investigate the problem. The team executed the idea to harvest excess water from the fields through
a cheap and efficient method. Though it showed spectacular results in the initial months, the
farmers gave up the innovation soon. When the team met two years later, they were shocked by the
unenthusiastic response of the farmers. This case pertains to the failure of policy innovations and
change management in government.

Complexity academic level

This case is useful for undergraduate-level courses in public management, public policy and
governance with modules in change management, innovation management, rural development and
programme implementation. Training modules for novice public service professionals and
programme management personnel in government organisations. Elective courses on public policy,
government relations and public sector management for undergraduate students of business

Link to Article: https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/TCJ-02-2021-0032/full/html

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