Working PapersBhatnagar, Navneet., Ramachandran, Kavil. "Emami’s Mission to the Next Orbit"Read Abstract >Close >This case is about the challenges of professionalisation and succession faced by an Indian, family controlled, personal-care products company, Emami Limited. Emami was setup in 1974 at Kolkata by two childhood friends, Radhe Shyam Agarwal (RSA) and Radhe Shyam Goenka (RSG). They started with a small capital of INR 20,000 and had grown the business to INR 1.8 bn in sales by financial year 2013-14. Emami had earned a reputation for being innovative in development of products based on keen consumer insights. Ever since Emami tasted initial success in business (i.e. within 3-4 years of its inception), the company adopted an inorganic strategy for growth and made several strategic business acquisitions. As the business grew, it implemented organizational changes, brought in functional experts from outside and professionalised its operations. During the first four decades since it was founded, Emami grew its product portfolio to include ayurvedic formulations and nutraceuticals. Besides, the group diversified in other businesses such as paper, real estate and construction. However, Emami Limited, the personal care company continued to be the group’s flagship that generated most of its wealth. Business growth increased the complexities of Emami’s operations. In order to manage those complexities Emami made efforts to professionalise their systems and processes. However, as the founders grew older, they had realized the need for succession planning to pass on the leadership to the next generation. They were also cognizant of the need to establish family governance mechanisms and structures to ensure Emami’s sustainability across generations. Another key challenge they faced was how and whom to select as their successor because their children had been brought up together, had similar educational qualifications, business experience and performance record. It was quite hard for them to pick one member over the other.

Working PapersBhatnagar, Navneet.,Ray, Sougata., Ramachandran, Kavil. "Building Next Generation Leadership: A Strategic Framework for Family Firms"Read Abstract >Close >Developing next generation leadership is critical to sustain organisations, even more so for family controlled businesses because they are prone to failure on this count. The interplay of family and business sub-systems uniquely influences next generation leadership development strategy in family firms. Though leadership development strategy and process have been examined in extant literature, these have not been adequately researched in the family business context, particularly in an emerging economy like India. Therefore, following case methodology, we examine the next generation leadership development strategy of 15 Indian family firms and identify the pathways adopted by the incumbent and next generation leaders. We found that early strategic focus on building key capabilities and phased development process, were instrumental in a successful next generation leadership development strategy.

Working PapersBhatnagar, Navneet., Ramachandran, Kavil. "The Influence of Familial Socio-Political Forces on New Venture Creation Strategy in Family Business"Read Abstract >Close >New venture (NV) creation is critical to growth and long-term survival of business groups. In family business (FB) context, the socio-political dynamics of family sub-system influences decision-making in business sub-system. However, the effect of this phenomenon on NV creation strategy and process in family business has not been adequately examined. This paper triangulates observations from the literature and 25 in-depth interviews of FB leaders with insights from two FB practitioners, and employs abductive reasoning to theorize the influence of familial socio-political forces on NV creation strategy of family businesses. The results show that in addition to the economic rationale, the proposer’s socio-political clout in the family and the leadership's predisposition to the NV proposer are critical influences on the NV creation strategy of family businesses.

Working PapersBhatnagar, Navneet.,Ray, Sougata., Ramachandran, Kavil. "Decoding Family Togetherness : How Familial Bonds Shape the Family Business"Read Abstract >Close >Sustaining the family business has been a core concern of family business scholars (Le Breton-Miller & Miller, 2016). Long-term survival of business is possible only when the owner family sustains as a cohesive unit. For this, strong family bonding is critical. Family ties have been probed in literature but in a fragmented manner. Moreover, the theories of family cohesion or socioemotional wealth consider family ties purely as a phenomenon of the family sub-system and examine their effect on business outcomes. We assimilate the disparate literature on familiality and conceptualize a coherent whole, termed, ‘Family Togetherness.’ We define family togetherness as the capability of the owner family to operate as a cohesive unit across both the family and business contexts. It is a ‘supra-entity’ determined by the constituent dimensions from the complex whole of the family and business sub-systems. These dimensions are rooted in the operational and governance practices followed in both the sub-systems. Using confirmatory factor analysis based on 279 survey responses from family business leaders in India, this study identifies six dimensions of family togetherness: i.e., Professionalism, Commitment, Mutual Respect, Complexity, Shared Vision, and Nurturance. The paper also discusses the implications and concludes with suggestions for future research.

Working PapersBhatnagar, Navneet., Ramachandran, Kavil., Ray, Sougata. "Strategic Agility and Familiness: Family Firms’ Rudders to Navigate the VUCA World"Read Abstract >Close >We live in unpredictable times characterized by high volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA) in the macroenvironment, which renders strategic planning ineffective (Mack et el., 2015). However, VUCA also offers opportunities, provided that businesses develop better sense-making ability and make appropriate strategic decisions (Bennett & Lemoine, 2014). Family controlled firms, the dominant form of business organization across the world (Ward, 2011), operate with long-term orientation. On account of the owner family’s network and other unique resources, and their keen interest in preserving financial and emotional wealth, family firms are likely to respond to environmental changes in a manner that is distinct from non-family firms. However, firm-level antecedents that shape family firms’ strategic decisions in an uncertain environment have not been adequately examined. Employing multiple-case method, this paper attempts to address that crucial gap and extend strategy and family business literature. Based on in-depth case studies of 15 publicly traded Indian family firms, the study also aims at examining how heterogeneity in family firm’s - (1) strategic agility, and (2) familiness resources and capabilities basket - influence its strategic decision-making in volatile and uncertain times. On the basis of the common patterns that emerge from the preliminary study of these cases a strategic framework has been conceptualized that identifies four distinct strategic decision-making profiles of family firms. These four family-firm types are tentatively labeled drawing an analogy from the animal world. As we develop this research, we aim to validate the framework by juxtaposing it with similar assessment of non-family firms (i.e., their strategic agility and resources and capabilities). The paper promises to have significant implications for strategic management of family firms and aims to contribute to our understanding of strategic decision-making under uncertainty in family business context.

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