Taj Employee Behavior During 26/11 is a Harvard Case Study Now

Date:   Wednesday , February 02, 2011

The 26/11 terror attack, which took the life of 164, in Mumbai was among the worst terror attacks India has faced. The Taj Hotel in Mumbai was hit very badly during the incident and several guests and more than a dozen employees lost their life. The heroic response by employees of Taj during the attacks is now a case study at Harvard Business School that focuses on the staff’s selfless service for its customers and how they went beyond their call of duty to save lives.

The multimedia case study ‘Terror at the Taj Bombay: Customer-Centric Leadership’ by HBS professor Rohit Deshpande documents “the bravery and resourcefulness shown by rank-and-file employees” during the attack. “Not even the senior managers could explain the behaviour of these employees,” Deshpande is quoted as saying in HBS Working Knowledge, a forum on the faculty’s research and ideas. According to Deshpande even though the employees “knew all the back exits” of the hotel and could have easily escaped, many of them stayed back and helped the guests. “The natural human instinct would be to flee. These are people who instinctively did the right thing. And in the process, some of them, unfortunately, gave their lives to save guests.”

The case studies include video interviews with hotel staff and footage of the attack; it is like a documentary style account of events. It also focuses on the hotels history, its recruitment and training methodology. “Nothing in the employees’ training could have prepared them for such an unprecedented situation,” Deshpande said.