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How the Environment of Hong Kong and the ASEAN Contributed to Jardine, Matheson & Company's External Organization for Opportunity Exploitation and Risk

By Carol Connell


Abstract: Strategic management in Jardine, Matheson derived from the special business, social and political environment into which the firm entered and the firm’s concentration on building a pattern of relationships within and outside the business- an external organization in the Marshallian sense. This external organization helped the firm to foster the flow of information, the knowledge with which to interpret it, the ability to influence others and the reputation to attract and retain trading partners. Volatility, government policy shifts, chance--- unpredictable elements in the life of any business--- are familiar to the major Asian conglomerates. Some, like Swire Pacific, Hutchison Whampoa, Wheelock and Jardine, Matheson & Company, are the descendants of the old agency houses and share the opprobrium of a colonial, or worse, an opium past. In Hong Kong and on the mainland, new business enterprises have emerged or new configurations led by Chinese businessmen--- like Cheung Kong's Li Kashing--- that are challenging the old houses for investor dollars because they afford leading edge development prospects without the corporate center, asset baggage, and history. Jardine, Matheson & Company is the oldest of the firms and the focus of this study. From 1832 and for a hundred years, the firm’s business was risk broking for buyers and sellers of goods from/to Europe and Asia---- and based entirely on commissions. The firm extracted commissions--- as much as 45 cents on every dollar--- for service

Year: 2011
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