Case ID 11-1062
Published 2011
Industry Code 99
Subject Social enterprise & ethics

Abstract Asama Chemical Co. Ltd., founded in 1975 by its current president is a company that carries out research and development for chemical food additives. The company, which has carefully developed its patents strategy, is a small family operation with 28 employees, including the president. Despite its relatively small size it has registered 75 patents. Since founding the company, the president has opted not to take the business public. He has pursued a patents strategy and has limited the number of his employees. Ultimately, the company has not expanded its performance over time as a result of its general management style. Nevertheless, its employees are highly-motivated and report high levels of work satisfaction. This case highlights various themes through the examination of the president’s thoughts, the day-to-day life at his company, social trends related to food products, and a comparison of Asama with its competitors (such as similar family-operated businesses and subsidiaries of larger firms). The case focuses on Asama’s management style as being one of many ways to manage an innovative company as well as the company’s problem of finding a successor to the president in the future.
Pages 36
Teaching Note Yes