Case #1806.1

Beyond Cooperation: Gender, Activism, and Self-Help in Maharashtra (Epilogue)

Publication Date: September 19, 2005
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In February, 2004, the general manager of the Mann Deshi Mahila Sahakari Bank failed to show up for work several days in a row. His absence followed a meeting of the full staff of the bank with the chair of the board, Chetna Sinha, in which tensions between the male and female staff were aired. The general manager was not the only male staff member to show his dissatisfaction. In January, another long-time male employee had quit, warning that all the male staff were planning to quit as well. Chetna Sinha had to decide whether to call back the general manager, or simply let him go. If she let him go, who would replace him? Chetna Sinha and other women in the village received a cooperative banking license from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in February 1997, and six months later founded the Mann Deshi Bank. The bank grew steadily, though not without problems, especially in filling the general manager position. In 2002, Chetna was invited to be a fellow at Yale’s Global Fellows program, where she spent a year. In her absence, the bank passed an RBI exam, and operated with few problems. But on her return Chetna found many tensions that soon became unbearable. In December, 2003, she called the full staff meeting that precipitated the departure of the two male employees.

Learning Objective:
This case raises a number of general management questions: What particular difficulties does a woman face in founding and growing a development organization? How can such an organization attract the appropriate talent, especially in a labor market where gender is a significant factor? How do founders of organizations delegate responsibility for the running of an organization once it is established? It also raises specific questions related to microfinance.

Other Details

Case Author:
Pamela Young
Faculty Lead:
Guy Stuart
Pages (incl. exhibits):