Seminar Company cultures and managements
Monday March 21, 2011
- 17h - 19h
Between 2000 and 2006, Veolia Eau installed a system of water meters in an area of the town of Chennai in southern India with technical help financed by the World Bank. Whereas in Western Europe where such an installation may be a rather run-of-the-mill management tool, in India water meters have a rather unexpected importance. Water is paid at a fixed rate, and local elected representatives have reservations about the idea of changing those rates. The water supply is frequently cut off, and consumers have become accustomed to having to find other solutions to provide them with a water supply. For consumers, the water meter is simply associated with the idea of an equal distribution of water for everyone. However, this situation is not the case because Veolia Eau is unable to ensure water distribution for everyone around the clock. Even if this goal were achieved, it would run the risk of undermining the fundamental practice of social solidarity in the local culture, which would be a cause for concern. In practice, the experience proved to be a failure. The study showed, however, that in India, as elsewhere, consumers are prepared to pay for a water service provided it is of high-quality and supplied at a reasonable price.
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This session was published in issue n°91 of the Journal de l'École de Paris du management, entitled Faire face.