Family Businesses: Spreading Roots and Wings

Current issue > August 2019

ISBInsight has followed the fortunes of India’s family firms often in partnership with the Thomas Schmidheiny Centre for Family Enterprise at ISB, one of the most trusted chroniclers of these businesses. In this issue, Dr Nupur Pavan Bang edits a collection that poses questions central to Indian family businesses at the contemporary juncture – how do family firms not only harvest the fruits of present prosperity but also lay the seeds for long-lived success? How do family firms nurture both wings and roots?

Also: Ajay Bhalla and Aneesh Banerjee examine the experience of the UK’s longest living family businesses for prescriptions for enterprise longevity and health. Simran Senani, Nupur Bang and Anil Sainani offer advice for family governance. Tara Ollapally explains why mediation works in tiding over family and business conflicts. Nupur Bang and Yashodhara Basuthakur trace out the new pathways family firms are charting in bringing daughters into the business fold.

In our Conversations section, we are very pleased to host a discussion between Dean Rajendra Srivastava and eminent theorist-practitioner Dr William Janeway on the challenges of investing in the innovation economy. We also have Dr Schmidhieny in dialogue with Professor Kavil Ramachandran about the contours of the emerging global economy. The current Executive Board Chairman of the German pharmaceutical and chemical giant Merck, Dr Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp, tells Dr Navneet Bhatnagar what it takes for a family business to last over three and a half centuries. And ISB Board member G V Prasad of Dr Reddy’s Laboratories speaks frankly of the current conundrums of the Indian pharmaceutical sector.

Also among the highlights of this issue: insights from the 2018 Strategic Management Society conference. And speaking of legacy, Deepak Parekh recounts the HDFC voyage. Join us as we explore the unexpected twists and turns of the Indian business journey.

Family Governance – Proactive Strategies

Effective governance mechanisms, both at the level of family and the business are central to the growth and sustenance of family businesses. Simran Senani, Nupur Pavan Bang and Anil Sainani discuss the role of the Family Business Constitution in facilitating family governance.

Read more

Redefining the Role of Women in Indian Family Businesses

At a time when India is witnessing a sharp decline in female labour force participation, where do Indian family businesses stand in terms of women participation and leadership? Although traditionally a patriarchal institution, the Indian family business has come a long way in ensuring women empowerment, contend Yashodhara Basuthakur and Nupur Pavan Bang.

Read more

When Negotiations Fail: The Mediation Solution

Transforming disputes to opportunities takes mediation by a neutral mediator. There are several cases of disputing companies completing mediation with a decision to start a joint venture. Tara Ollapally explains why mediation works especially well for family businesses.

Read more

Literacy for the 21st Century: Reading the Global Business Environment

Dr Thomas Schmidheiny, a globally prominent philanthropist and Chairman of Spectrum Value Management, visited the Indian School of Business during the 7th Asian Invitational Conference on Family Business organised in February 2019 by ISB’s Thomas Schmidheiny Centre for Family Enterprise. Professor Kavil Ramachandran, Executive Director of the Schmidheiny Centre for Family Enterprise, caught up with him for a seasoned perspective on the trends shaping the global business landscape.

Read more

350 Years of Family Business: Lessons from Merck

Professor Dr Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp, the Chairman of the Executive Board and Family Board of the German pharmaceuticals and chemicals company, E Merck KG, was a Keynote Speaker at the 7th Asian Invitational Conference on Family Business organised in February 2019 by the Thomas Schmidheiny Centre for Family Enterprise at the Indian School of Business. Dr Navneet Bhatnagar, Senior Researcher at the Thomas Schmidheiny Centre for Family Enterprise, ISB spoke with him about the 350-year long journey of Merck and the family and corporate governance practices that helped in the company’s longevity.

Read more

Trust on the Risk Spectrum: Investing in the Innovation Economy

Distinguished ‘theorist-practitioner’ and author of Doing Capitalism in the Innovation Economy, Dr William Janeway visited the Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad campus as the Dean’s Speaker in December 2018. ISB Dean Rajendra Srivastava engaged in a wide-ranging conversation with Dr Janeway on risk, uncertainty and investment across mature and emerging markets and firms.

Read more

HDFC: A Journey in Banking

The journey of HDFC, India’s retail housing financier, mirrors the journey of the financial sector post-1991. In his keynote address at the 7th Invitational Asian Family Business Conference, Chairman of HDFC, Deepak Parekh outlined the lessons from its successes and failures.

Read more

The Strategy Set

With the law in many countries mandating female representation on company boards, what concerns should a good recruitment strategy for hiring women directors address? Where are the entrepreneurial opportunities in Indian agriculture and agribusiness? And what might academics who study strategy management have to say to women’s empowerment and/or agricultural sector growth? The Strategic Management Society’s Special Conference in Hyderabad in December 2018 showcased the depth, breadth and surprising relevance of recent strategy research. On behalf of ISBInsight, Ujval Nanavati spoke with the authors of two insightful papers.

Read more

Emerging Markets: Moving Up the Value Chain

Emerging markets are no longer known as the developed world’s back office. These markets are now the destinations for not just multinational product ranges but also their mega research and development centres, which drive top-end product innovation. To understand the scale at which industries leverage emerging markets for higher value-added activities, Ujval Nanavati spoke with Alok Nanda, Chief Technology Officer, GE South Asia and Chief Executive Officer, GE India Technology Centre. This conversation took place on the sidelines of the Strategic Management Society’s Special Conference in Hyderabad on December 2018.

Read more

The Myth of Jealous Women

Is the much-publicised women’s jealousy in the workplace really an issue or a sexist stereotype? How can men and women cope with the feelings of jealousy? Swati Desai has some advice that draws on research.

Read more