Elsa Margarita Uribe
Universidad de los Andes Colombia
This business case describes Hocol’s competitive performance in Colombia’s oil upstream industry. A distinctive feature that separated this oil company from its competitors hinged on its dynamic pursuit of a business model based on profound, ongoing understanding of the forces at play outside the company to combine them with its inner power to simultaneously create both economic and social value. Hocol designed its business after a mutually reconciling and reinforcing virtuous circle among the several forces that influenced its performance at some points in its history.
The case shows Hocol’s ability to understand and transform the multiple adverse and favoring forces in its environment, to build its internal capabilities, and to apply its business competencies to secure positive financial, social and environmental outcomes. Its business model intended the company to become part of Colombia’s economic and social fabric, thus viewing Hocol’s setting as an economic and social value constellation where it actively engaged. Hocol’s business revolved around a clear principle: “The company’s success depends on its stakeholders’ success.” While Hocol claimed not have a specific model, its performance was based on learning, experimentation, incremental and ongoing adaptation to external demands. This scheme served as a compass for Hocol’s operations and the work carried out by its Governance, Community and Industrial Protection Affairs team. It also provided a framework for its Foundation to operate where the company did the business. Hocol believed that, to enhance its economic and social performance, the company had to understand and manage the pressures coming from its surroundings, while developing the required internal resources and competencies to turn threats into opportunities and to meet the expectations of its stockholders, contractors, neighboring communities and other stakeholders. Hocol was determined to understand the changing needs of society and to contribute to their satisfaction by strengthening grassroots organizations and governmental institutions.