Synopsis of the Case
Although the Handloom sector’s contribution to employment is second only to Agriculture in India, and is estimated to be about 45%, the setting up of textile mills as an outcome of industrialization and post-industrialization, and the subsequent power loom domination lead to a steady decline of weaving clusters and the livelihoods associated with the same, besides the demise of the weaving heritage and erosion of the skill-base. The case study is an illustration of how amidst these challenges to the Handloom Industry, Savitha Suri mobilizes bottom-up change and creates customer engagement at both ends of the value stream (weaver and consumer). Specifically, the revival journey of two weaving clusters are discussed, these being, a: SPANDANA or the healing touch—a social change initiative that led to impactful outcomes, including the number of looms increasing from ten in 2016 to forty by the end of 2017; from each weaver earning INR 200 per saree as labour, to INR 450 in 2017, an year after the SPANDANA journey started; and from 135 sarees at the beginning of the SPANDANA initiative to nearly 3000 sarees being woven, just an year after the project began, with innovations in design and colour, as further evidence of growing confidence and empowerment of the weavers. The case also illustrates a second revival journey, the SPOORTHI project—which was one of the first ever crowd-funded initiative in the Handloom sector in India, that led to the revival of another long-forgotten weave—the Goan Kunbi, with this bottom-up change creating some market disruption. The case offers insights on how a value-based approach, driven by ethical intent and a chain of enablers, is the biggest driver for social change.
Teaching Purpose and Objectives
The case is suitable for both undergraduate and postgraduate classes and can be used to provoke class discussions on: entrepreneurial leadership, change management, and ethical dimensions of entrepreneurial action.
To discuss enablers of sustainable business models in the Social Sector, in an emerging market context, with a specific focus on how value-based and purpose-driven approaches are fundamental to successful social entrepreneurship ventures.
Key objectives include the following:
To critically evaluate the qualities of entrepreneurial leadership.
To discuss the change dynamics associated with bottom-up reorientation efforts.
To appraise and evaluate the role of ethics and trust in social entrepreneurship.
Additional Readings Suggested
Students are required to refer to relevant scholarly articles in change management, social entrepreneurship, and entrepreneurial leadership. Two key readings are recommended, as follows:
Hayes, J. (2014). The Theory and Practice of Change Management. 4th Edition, Palgrave Macmillan.
Kuratko, D.F. & Morris, M.H. (2013). Entrepreneurship and Leadership, Edward Elgar Publishing Limited.
Discussion Questions and Analysis
Theme 1: Entrepreneurial Leadership
Discuss facts of the case and evaluate the key features of Savita’s entrepreneurial leadership efforts with reference to relevant theoretical models of entrepreneurial leadership.
Drawing from entrepreneurial leadership literature, the discussion may focus on key features of entrepreneurial leadership, including authentic leadership, entrepreneurial action in the face of uncertainty, the drivers for converting third person opportunity to first person opportunity, and the establishment of operational control mechanisms for effective and efficient utilization of the limited resources available to entrepreneurs.
Theme 2: Change Management
Discuss the key features of the change dynamics that enabled the revival process (as illustrated in the case) to succeed, with reference to relevant process models of change.
Drawing on relevant process models of change, the discussion may focus on, forces for and against change, how Savitha Suri converted the need for change into a desire for change, dynamics of stakeholder management, and the key issues that could be considered to make the change sustainable.
Theme 3: Ethics of Entrepreneurial Action
Evaluate Savita’s ethical stance with regard to her revival of the two weaving clusters What are the key features of the customer engagement process that helped her to succeed?
What advice would you give to Savitha for institutionalizing her values, especially at later stages of her venture development?
Drawing on relevant ethical frameworks, the discussion may focus on the relationship between key entrepreneurial characteristics such as, internal locus of control, need for achievement and tolerance for ambiguity, and implications for Savitha Suri’s ethical stance. The discussion may focus on how Savitha used ethics and trust as her key value proposition, to create a chain of enablers, and thus achieve customer engagement at both ends of the value stream—consumers and weavers. Further, the analyses can focus on the mechanics of institutionalizing Savitha’s core values as her social entrepreneurship venture scales up, with a focus on articulating a clear vision, mission, policies and procedures, and the setting up of other implicit and explicit structure and processes.