Case Study

Hartalega: Challenging tradition

13 pages
December 2013
Reference: IMD-3-2423

The case traces the unusual growth path of an ethnic Chinese family-owned company in Southeast Asia. Where similar businesses opted to pursue a path of diversification and reliance on low-cost labor, Hartalega founder’s focus was on nurturing a strong R&D culture, constantly improving manufacturing processes and standards of efficiency. By overcoming a host of barriers posed by technology, pricing and intellectual property, the company, despite its roots in a developing country with a bias towards agriculture and commodities, emerged as a global leader. The second generation of company owners has been tasked with capturing and institutionalizing the founder’s values as a set of lasting management and family values. It also strives to uphold the family’s deeply-held civic and moral convictions in a highly competitive industry environment.

Learning Objective

In regions such as Southeast Asia, family-controlled companies have not only played an important business role but have also acted as agents of broader social, economic and nation-building change. This case belongs to a series of company cases that exemplify best practices in family, ownership, succession and business governance. It illustrates the unique perspectives that leading family-owned and family-controlled businesses in emerging markets in Asia bring to global learning on family business. It invites to learn about local family firms and understand their view on shaping positive and sustainable visions for the future, anchored in an increasingly global environment.

Family Values, Technology, Research and Development, Manufacturing, Original Equipment Manufacturer, Cross-cultural Management, Succession, Generational Transition, Next Generation, Ownership, Business Continuity
Asia, Malaysia
Hartalega, Manufacturing, Chemicals
Field Research
© 2013
Available Languages
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