Inter-disciplinary coverage of family business entrepreneurship related issues is at the core of the “Family Business” category of the EFMD Case Writing Competition. The 2014 winner in this category is:
“J.M. Huber: A Family of Solutions”, written by Benoît Leleux, and Anne-Catrin Glemser, both at IMD, CH.
The J.M. Huber case, based on extensive personal interviews with senior executives and family members of the J.M. Huber family business, one of the largest and oldest American family businesses, investigates the unique culture and governance structures and processes of the firm, its roots and the multiple forms of expression that enables it to survive and thrive over six generations and about as many fundamental strategic shifts (pivots) and repositionings. The following questions are explicitly addressed:
- Can a family business culture be a “weapon to attract talent,” as stated by the CEO?;
- What factors should be included and how should they be weighted in the recruitment of the next CEO? What kind of CEO profile should they target?;
- How much should the family business continue to open up its communication, both internally (for family shareholders and family members) and externally (for broader stakeholder groups)?;
- How does the Huber family instil a sense of purpose and a shared vision among its owners? In particular, how much are the various factors – the family principles and values, the Huber business principles and the Mike Huber Award – contributing?;
- Where does the firm find the infamous “family glue” and how does it try to strengthen these bonds?;
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of inclusion, i.e. incorporating as many family members, including in-laws? Why are many family firms reluctant to adopt/resist an inclusive environment? What structures and processes has Huber adopted to facilitate inclusiveness?
Also the finalist cases from last year in the “Family Business” category may be of interest to you:
"Trusted Family: For Families, by Families, forever… "by IMD Switzerland
This video-case is an innovative and entertaining basis to discuss a number of critical family business issues, such as governance and the communication needs of large multi-generational family firms, entrepreneurship by next generation members, the brand value of family names, etc.
"The Future of AFG: How Family Attachment Influenced Growth", Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, NL.The case deals with a dilemma the Italian family firm AFG faced after making a significant investment to grow its business and the strategic decisions to be taken by the CEO.
Hermès, INSEAD, FR. This case follows the evolution of two distinct types of family-owned luxury houses. Hermès represents traditional excellence – with its low-key style, highest quality workmanship, and dependable designs. LVMH is a luxury conglomerate that grows by acquisition of designer labels. The authors explore the ownership battle between them.
You are most welcome to consult the full list of winners for all 14 categories is on the EFMD website, as well as details for the EFMD Case Writing Competition in general.