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Selected Case

published: 25 Sep 2017

  • Topic: Family Business
  • Industry: Household furniture
  • Region: Asia

Abstract:
The case is about a small family-owned business making fine bone china in South Korea, whose founder was driven by a sense of filial piety, one of the principles of Confucianism. This emphasizes respect for parents, elders and children, and the idea that they will be taken care of in times of need. Exemplary behaviour is expected from children in public in order to reflect well on their family name and ancestors. Fraternity among brothers is also emphasized to prevent disputes arising out of sibling rivalry. The case explores how successive generations kept these values alive within the family, the company, and its employees. It also describes how more recently, Hankook Chinaware has lost significant market share on the domestic front as because of an influx of low-cost Chinese products flooding South Korea.

Pedagogical Objectives:
Instructors can use this case for specific situations in which the principles of Confucianism are being taught. Family business instructors who run courses in Asia-Pacific may find it particularly relevant as it deals with concepts relevant to the region. The case is short and easy to read. From a technical point of view, it can be used to shed light on the transfer of pottery skills from one generation to the next. Instructors can also use it to highlight how external market forces can transform a niche business into a commodity industry where profit margins are squeezed beyond breaking point.

Keywords:
Hankook Chinaware, Confucianism, South Korea, Porcelain, Luxury Chinaware, Dinner Plates, Dinner Plates, Pottery, Filial Piety, Wedgwood, Prouna, Vases, Josiah Wedgwood, Fine Bone China


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