Suramericana; a managerial and academic case study
The Suramericana Auditorium recently provided the venue for the launch of a book titled "Management knowledge A case study of Suramericana S.A. as a multi-business corporation" written by Luz Maria Rivas Montoya, who holds a PhD in Business Administration and teaches at the Universidad Eafit. This book was based on the findings of a two-year long investigation into the management and administrative dynamics of Suramericana. After conducting a host of interviews, attending primary groups and senior management committees and using the knowledge gained as manager of the ARL SURA branch in Manizales, Dr. Rivas Montoya was able to produce a well-sustained book showing why Suramericana today is an example of how to manage a true multi-business corporation in Colombia and Latin America. For Mr. Gonzalo Perez Rojas, Chief Executive Officer of Suramericana who attended this book launch, the fact that Dr. Luz Maria used to belong to the Organization only goes to underpin the overall value of this book. "When she came to us with the idea of writing this book on Suramericana, we had no hesitation whatsoever, since for us this is not only an act of conscience from the academic standpoint but also the testimony of someone who truly knows how the Company works as a member of its administrative team" , he stated. For her part, Dr. Rivas mentioned that "Suramericana opened its doors so that we could learn a little more about its corporate routines and how its staff interact with each other, thereby establishing a clear point of differentiation when devising a strategy" . "How does management knowledge work from the standpoint of handling a multi-business corporation?" , was the question behind the investigation carried out by Dr. Rivas in which she addressed issues such as how the Company's background influences the present, the synergies it has been able to harness, the knowledge gained and the temporary structures of different areas that allow other lines of business to be handled, the differences that must be taken into account when managing a multi-business organization and its corporate role amongst many other pertinent matters. "I think that this investigation shall be of great use to Suramericana when characterizing how it deploys its management knowledge, especially since this has nothing to do with the position held but rather with the capabilities that its staff offer when synthesizing the specialized knowledge that each area and business area has to offer; and being able to understand the organization as a whole. I shall also be showing how the way in which this management knowledge is channeled helps to create innovation within the Organization" stated Dr. Rivas Montoya. Finally the Chief Executive Officer of Suramericana thanked Dr. Rivas Montoya "for the trust deposited in us and for showing that the Company has a lot to offer as a subject for academic study, not only in terms of a PhD thesis, but also addressing what we have got right and what we have not over seven decades of corporate history as a company that has become the hallmark of Colombian industry and more specifically the insurance industry."