Family Dynasties : The Evolution of Global Business in Scandinavia book cover
1st Edition

Family Dynasties
The Evolution of Global Business in Scandinavia

ISBN 9780367735043
Published December 18, 2020 by Routledge
136 Pages

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Book Description

A remarkable fifteen Nordic family businesses are among the 500 biggest companies in the world and the Nordic countries have more dynasties than most others per capita and in GDP terms. The willingness, often reluctant, of both the political system and labour movement to accept asset accumulation has helped these Nordic businesses survive. The top 1% of Swedes own close to 25% of the country's wealth, as opposed to 16.5% of Spaniards, where dynasties are also abundant. The pattern has held a firm grip on the Nordic countries since the Industrial Revolution and emergence of free enterprise. The trend is particularly pronounced in comparison with the Anglo-Saxon countries – somewhat less so relative to places like Italy, Japan, Germany and South-Asian countries.

This book describes the factors and dynamics behind the ability of Nordic businesses to grow and thrive from one generation to the next in the process of becoming dynasties. Far from being commercial enterprises, they are a venue for power, philanthropy, passion, conflict, freedom and captivity. Like many other dynasties, the Nordic ones are a witch's brew of Machiavelli's Prince, Marx's belief in the potential of the meritocracy and Smith's baker who works to sustain his family. Topped by a spoonful of Weber's Protestant Ethic.

This book will be key readings for students and scholars of entrepreneurship, corporate governance, business history, Scandinavian history, family business and enterprises and the related disciplines.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Dynasties in the Age of Capitalism

The Lucky Sperm Club

Mature and emerging dynasties

Nordic dynasties

Missions to fulfil

Chapter 2: The Theory of Dynasty

Personal, family-based and managerial capitalism

Financial and human capital

Dynastic longings

Churchill's favourite marmalade?

Ants and grasshoppers

The good life outside the stock market

A conceptual model

Relational capital and value creation

Historichal anchor

Chapter 3: New Industry Logic

Nordic dynastic entrepreneurship in the nineteenth century

Merchant houses

Banking and the bourgeoisie

Inter-war dynasties

Entrepreneurship in the countryside of Jutland

Post-war dynasties

Society modernizes

Family-based retailers

Into the digital revolution

Countryside origins

Chapter 4: Strategy, Structure and Dynamics

Stick to what you know, or not

A structural evolutionary pattern

Conglomerates – a blind alley

Business groups

Bonnier – back to basics

The u-turn of Lego

Too much tradition kills

In the wrong industry at the wrong time

Continuity and discontinuity with historical roots

Chapter 5: Values and Credos

Servant of the people – Kamprad’s will

Renewal and the national interest – the Wallenbergs

Resolute leadership

Spotlight on customers – the Perssons, Rausings and Kann Rasmussens

The devil is in the details

Winning strategies

Chapter 6: Blood is Everything – Succession

Family do or die

Lonely spouses and cracks in the glass ceiling

Changing role of women

Shaky promises for the future

Sibling rivalry

A two-man show, or maybe not

The extended family

Sons-in-law and trials by fire

Culture of leadership

Frictionless succession

Passive owners without day-to-day management duties

Kinship triumphs

Chapter 7: Business, Politics and Culture

Political effort and conservative resistance

To ease the tax burdens

Welfare system alliances

A long tradition of mutual benefit

Give and take – a question of culture

Chapter 8: Conclusion

The weight of tradition

The future of dynasties – local is global

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Hans Sjögren is a professor at Linköping University and Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden.