Ref: IMD-7-1934

Case study

Reference: IMD-7-1934

Order this case study

Family leadership challenges: Disrupting the momentum at Samsung

By Professor Denise H. Kenyon-RouvinezDenise H. Kenyon-Rouvinez, Jung Eung Park and Marc Chauvet

Samsung is a Korean conglomerate (or chaebol) founded in 1938. Once a sole trading company, it has grown into a myriad of companies generating over $380 billion globally in industries as varied as construction, semiconductors, shipbuilding, banking and entertainment.

Like most Korean conglomerates, an unusual feature of Samsung is that it has no overarching holding company; it is a constellation of companies sharing a common name and tightly interwoven cross-ownership ties. This ownership structure allows the third-generation descendant of the family business, Jae-Yong Lee, to control the conglomerate with shares in only a few affiliates.

The case focuses on three pivotal moments of the Lee family’s leadership of the Samsung Group:

  • The leadership transmission from the founder Byung-Chul to the second generation
  • The hospitalization of the visionary leader Kun-Hee and the succession to the third generation
  • Jae-Yong’s arrest and later conviction, causing a leadership vacuum within the group

Learning Objective

The case describes multiple events throughout the company’s 80-year history and illustrates diverse aspects of a family business.

It also presents an interesting account of the business, economic, political and social development of South Korea since 1930s.

The instructor can use the case to provide real examples of some or all of the following topics: the role of vision in business, family business succession, and ethical leadership.

KeywordsConglomerate, Disruption, Ethics, Family Business, Leadership, Strategy
SettingsAsia, South Korea
Samsung Electronics
2017
TypePublished Sources
Copyright©2018
LanguageEnglish
Order this case study

Reference: IMD-7-1934

IMD case studies are distributed through case clearing houses. In order to browse the collection and purchase copies please visit the links below.

The Case Centre Cranfield University

Wharley End Beds MK43 0JR, UK
Tel +44 (0)1234 750903
Fax +44 (0)1234 751125
Email info@thecasecentre.org

The Case Centre Babson College

Babson Park Wellesley MA 02457, USA
Tel +1 781 239 5884
Fax +1 781 239 5885
Email info.usa@thecasecentre.org

Harvard Business School Publishing

60 Harvard Way Boston, MA 02163, USA
Tel (800) 545-7685 Tel (617)-783-7600
Fax (617) 783-7666
Email custserv@hbsp.harvard.edu

Case Center Japan

2nd Floor, Toranomon Jitsugyokaikan,
1-1-20 Toranomon, Minato-ku,
Tokyo 105-0001 Japan
Tel +81 3 3503 6621
Fax +81 3 3501 0550
Email info@casecenter.jp

Copyright information

IMD retains all proprietary interests in its case studies and notes. Without prior written permission, IMD cases and notes may not be reproduced, used, translated, included in books or other publications, distributed in any form or by any means, stored in a database or in other retrieval systems. For additional copyright information, please contact IMD's Information Center Copyrights Services.

Contact our Knowledge Center for additional information on IMD publications

Keep reading

Back to top