Case | HBS Case Collection | July 2010 (Revised September 2013)

Werner von Siemens and the Electric Telegraph

by Geoffrey G. Jones and Bjoern von Siemens

Abstract

This case describes the nineteenth century founding by Werner Siemens of the Siemens electrical business in Germany. Werner's dual role as inventor and entrepreneur is explored as he created one of the world's first multinational enterprises, whose growth initially rested on its pioneering role in the new telegraph industry. Werner sent his brothers to open businesses in Great Britain and Russia, and the case explores the advantages and disadvantages of family business as a form of organization, as well as the challenges growing it poses for such family firms.

Keywords: Business Organization; Family Business; Entrepreneurship; Multinational Firms and Management; Business History; Growth and Development Strategy; Electronics Industry; Telecommunications Industry; Germany;

Citation:

Jones, Geoffrey G., and Bjoern von Siemens. "Werner von Siemens and the Electric Telegraph." Harvard Business School Case 811-004, July 2010. (Revised September 2013.)