Hanze University in Groningen, Netherlands offers a three-week summer program on "Doing Business in Europe" in which Hope College participated for the first time this year. Since it was our first year, I accompanied our participating students to evaluate how the program should fit into our Management curriculum. The students attend lectures on intercultural management, marketing in the EU, and legal/economic issues of the EU. Also part of the program are business visits and cultural/social activities. This year we visited four companies - all over 100 years old! It was so interesting to hear executives describe their firm and their company culture in terms that echo the factors from my research on old companies in Japan and the U.S. The "survival" factors/behaviors of old companies do appear to be cross-cultural.
Grolsch will celebrate 400 years in 2015.
Hooghoudt (distiller) is over 125 years old, and still family owned.
Meyer Werft (large cruise ship manufacturer) is over 200 years old and still owned and managed by the founding family... And Philips will celebrate 125 years in 2016
I have received some information from a person associated with the USDA that there are many (134) farm cooperatives over 100 years old. That number represents 6% of all co-ops, a far larger percentage than that of organizations formed around the standard business model (which runs less than 1% - perhaps even less than one-half of 1%). It will take some research into the normal cooperative behaviors and strategies, but I suspect they operate in a similar manner to the businesses that have made it into the century club - a great focus on relationships and community, and more focused on sustaining the 'business' than on growth.
Professor of Management at Hope College in Holland, Michigan since 2000; Ruch Director of the Baker Scholars Program; 2007/08 Fulbright Scholar at the Krakow University of Economics in Poland. 25 years of business experience including positions as VP of Marketing, General Manager of Herman Miller for the Home, and EVP of Strategy with Herman Miller, Inc., and in Human Resource Management with General Electric. Served on the boards of Resthaven Care Community, Hope College and Tulip City Airport, and was honored as a Distinguished Alumni and Executive in Residence at Grand Valley State University. Publications include articles in the areas of leadership, corporate longevity, global business and entrepreneurship.