The HP-Compaq Merger: A Battle for the Heart and Soul of a Company (A)

Published 02 Jan 2006
Reference 5064
Topic Strategy
Region North America
Length 15 page(s)
Language English
Prizes & Awards

Winner of the 2004 EFMD Case Writing Competition in the Category 'Family Business'


This is the fourth of a four-case series. At first glance, Hewlett Packard (HP) doesn't seem to be a family firm, but when push comes to shove - as it did during the controversial HP-Compaq merger - family matters. The case introduces the strategy that drove the merger, analyses Carly Fiorina's background and leadership style, and discusses the corporate culture of HP. Chronologically, the case begins with the announcement of the merger and ends with the shareholders' vote. This case study illustrates the importance of corporate governance, parallel planning, and a shared vision in organisations in which the founding families still have a large financial and emotional stake.

Teaching objectives

The teaching objectives are: (1) to define the role of board - strategic development and decision making; (2) to recognise the importance of family legacy and shareholders' influence; (3) to explore the challenge of leadership - regenerating a highly regarded corporation; and (4) to understand the significance of corporate culture in organisational transitions.

  • AR0506
  • AR2006
  • AR2002
  • AR0203
  • RD1102
  • Hewlett Packard-Compaq
  • Parallel planning process
  • Walter Hewlett
  • Carly Fiorina
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Succession in family firms
  • Corporate governance
  • Shareholders' rights
  • Boards of directors
  • Corporate Governance
  • Corporate Governance for Family Firms
  • Governance, parallel planning, strategy, boards