Case | HBS Case Collection | June 2011 (Revised November 2014)

Vehbi Koç and the Making of Turkey's Largest Business Group

by Asli M. Colpan and Geoffrey Jones

Abstract

The case describes the creation of Turkey's largest business group by Vehbi Koç. The foundation of this group in the interwar years, and its subsequent diversification into many industries, including automobiles, household goods, and services, is analysed. The case serves as a vehicle to explain why diversified business groups are so important in emerging markets such as Turkey. It explores the role of market imperfections, government policies and entrepreneurial ambition in their creation, as well as the organizational challenges posed by managing such diversified firms owned by a family. Much of the firm's growth came from licensing and joint venture agreements with multinational firms which were unable, or unwilling, to invest directly in Turkey because of political risk and government restrictions. The case ends in 1988, when the founder has received a report from the management consultancy Bain calling for the firm to reduce the range of activities it undertakes because of the competitive challenges resulting from the liberalization of the Turkish economy.

Keywords: Emerging Markets; Entrepreneurship; Globalization; Organizational Structure; Diversification; Manufacturing Industry; Turkey;

Citation:

Colpan, Asli M., and Geoffrey Jones. "Vehbi Koç and the Making of Turkey's Largest Business Group." Harvard Business School Case 811-081, June 2011. (Revised November 2014.)