Title: A tale of two chemical family businesses: the evolution of Zobele Chemical Industries (Italy) and of the Chemical Group of Sinon Corporation (Taiwan)

Authors: Pier A. Abetti, Ta-Jung Lu

Addresses: Lally School of Management and Technology, Pitts 2202, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180-3590, USA. ' Graduate Institute of Technology and Innovation Management; Department of Chemistry, National Chung-Hsing University, 250 Kuo-Kuang Road, Taichung 40227, Taiwan

Abstract: This paper discusses the evolution of two entrepreneurial family chemical companies that have developed into global leaders in their selected market niches: Zobele Chemical Industries (Italy) and Chemical Group of Sinon Corporation (Taiwan). Both companies were started in the difficult environment following the Second World War. Because the domestic markets were relatively small, both companies grew outside their countries and are now globalising, with major expansions in China. The research question is: to what extent the evolutionary patterns of the two companies are determined by their national origin, as expressed by the cultural dimensions or by other environmental and structural factors? We utilise the case method and compare the histories, the key issues and challenges faced by the two companies and their strategic responses. We conclude that cultural dimensions contribute strongly to explain the parallel but divergent evolutions of Zobele Chemical Industries and Sinon Chemical Group. The insights of this study may be of value to owners and managers of family companies, to outside investors in these companies and to economic development agencies that promote employment, technology development and market expansion in their countries or regions.

Keywords: Zobele Chemical Industries; Sinon Corporation; Italy; Taiwan; family business; globalisation; family firms; entrepreneurship; national culture; cultural dimensions.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTTC.2011.040892

International Journal of Technology Transfer and Commercialisation, 2011 Vol.10 No.3/4, pp.289 - 313

Available online: 26 Jun 2011 *

Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article