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Kavil Ramachandran and Sougata Ray

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Kavil Ramachandran and Navneet Bhatnagar

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Kavil Ramachandran and Yashodhara Basuthakur

Thermax, a multigenerational family controlled, professionally managed business established in India, has retained its focus on developing patient long-term investment in environmental sustainability strategies while maintaining competitive advantage and perpetuity of the firm. The embeddedness of sustainable practices and social responsibility in the controlling family led to the development of the company’s unique vision, strategies, and resources. The family contributed to its sustainability goals of Thermax in two ways: one, by pioneering initiatives to develop better products that set sustainability standards, and two, by improving efficiency, productivity, and more effective use of resources internally. Thermax was proactive in responding to various challenges in the external environment to preserve and adopt green, sustainable practices and influencing the energy and environment industry. This chapter provides a brief history of Thermax’s sustainability journey over the three generations and key insights for other family businesses looking to pursue proactive environmental strategies.

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Kavil Ramachandran, John Ward and Sachin Waiker

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Kavil Ramachandran, Sougata Ray and Yashodhara Basuthakur

Family business in India has a rich history and heritage spanning multiple centuries. Though collectively family businesses have been progressively expanding their dominance over the Indian economy, individually family businesses have significantly varied experiences and fortunes. Some family businesses have retained their prominence and leadership across generations, a few have faded into oblivion and still others have emerged as new-generation family businesses. In this chapter the authors provide a brief historical account of the family businesses in India and trace the evolution of the leading family enterprises across different eras. They look back to look ahead in identifying some of the factors that explain the resilience of thriving multi-generational family businesses and the emergence of new-generation family businesses as well as the reasons for the decline of some of the erstwhile successful family ventures. The authors identify several challenges facing family businesses in India and present a set of normative guidelines for their sustainable future.

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Navneet Bhatnagar, Pramodita Sharma and Kavil Ramachandran

Family firm philanthropy is the voluntary donation of monetary or non-monetary resources by these enterprises for the betterment of society. Research suggests that while some business families engage in philanthropy with expectations of economic gains such as tax benefits, others are driven by non-economic motivators such as reputational or political influence gains. This chapter highlights another understudied set of intrinsic philanthropic triggers: a controlling family’s religious or spiritual beliefs. To understand the influence of such beliefs on philanthropy, the authors focus on the Indian context, for three reasons. First, India is a fast-growing economy dominated by family enterprises. Second, this subcontinent is home to one-sixth of the world’s population, characterized by peaceful co-existence of the world’s major religions and theologies. Third, the 2013 changes in corporate philanthropic laws provide an excellent opportunity to explore the effects of religious beliefs on philanthropic activities of business families. This research employs a comparative case study of two remarkable social ventures launched by business families that are located in geographically diverse regions of this subcontinent. As both these families follow India’s dominant religion, Hinduism, this study enables the authors to shed light on other factors that influence the focus and geographic scope of philanthropic activities pursued. While each venture varies in its developmental trajectory, the founder’s indelible influence is evident in both cases. Exciting research opportunities are revealed.

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Kevin Au, Justin B. Craig and Kavil Ramachandran