Managing people in the world’s largest commercial employer: an exploratory study on Indian Railways

Vijay Pereira

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The 21st century has witnessed India undergo sweeping economic changes. Riding on a host of factors, India today stands at the cusp of becoming one of the top four economies in the world. A growth rate of over 8%, prior to the slowdown, was despite the inadequacies of infrastructure. Yet, one organisation, which has shouldered the infrastructural burden of the transportation sector in India’s growth story, is the 160 year old Indian Railways (IR). IRs profits – $5 billion over the last four years – are a far cry from its loss making days, which tempted the government of India to consider privatisation in 2001. The transformational turnaround would not have been possible but for IRs employees who are its true assets. The objective, therefore, was to understand the ‘people side’ of IR – the world’s largest commercial employer. The study, while looking to increase awareness of contemporary HR challenges in India, is an attempt to first study the HR practices in the Indian Railways and second, to investigate changes in its HR practices and the role of HR in its turnaround strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-156
JournalInternational Journal of Indian Culture and Business Management
Issue number2
Early online date1 Mar 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Indian Railway
  • public sector
  • largest employer
  • people management
  • human resource management
  • HRM
  • Society of Human Resource Management, USA


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