THe Blog

May 03, 2016

A Change Management Perspective on Odd-Even Scheme

In this ET article, Charu Khanna emphasizes the importance of change management in getting public support when working for the common good.


"Organizational Behavior 101 begins with the argument that successful change needs a change champion. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was this and more. Besides advocating for the change from a variety of media, he and his team did something far more significant-they modeled the change, using public transport and carpooling. Unlike most politicians, they asked no more of any citizen than they were willing to do themselves. Kejriwal and Co.’s egalitarian actions spoke louder than words. Moreover, given these leaders’ anti-corruption and common-man ideology, their efforts were perceived as authentic. With leaders modeling the desired behaviors, Delhi’s citizens followed suit.


The leaders of the odd-even campaign recognized this, and chose fear and guilt to prod Delhiites into action, an effective move in the short-run. First, they scared us silly with pictures of diseased lungs on full page ads in newspapers. Then, they tugged at our heartstrings by using children in ad campaigns (and also as volunteers in Round I). It worked. After all, even the most selfish Delhiite wants her own children to be healthy. Manipulative? Probably. But when done for the greater good, I say, more power to the kids!


The Delhi government was ingenious in co-opting this homegrown concept that had caught the public imagination. They had civil-defense volunteers shame erring motorists by handing them a flower and politely telling them they were violating the rules. This inspired strategy elevated the narrative and communicated the message without turning people off."

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