Organisational Entanglement in Automotive Styling: Kia Motors' Design Capability Development in the 1980s - 1990s.

Type de publication:

Conference Paper


Gerpisa colloquium, Paris (2015)


Until Hyundai’s M&A in the end of 1998, Kia Motors Corporation had constituted a main pillar of the South Korean automotive industry, and some of its models such as Credos, Sportage, and Bongo were recognised as the domestic market frontiers. Nonetheless, little attempt on scholarly investigation on this automotive manufacturer’s path of corporate growth was made. Throughout the past decade since 2006, Kia has been one of the leading automotive manufacturers in styling alongside a series of international design award winning, and achieved successful branding enhancement in global perspective. The authors’ research initiative resides in the following straightforward query: what about Kia’s styling capability beforehand, especially, before being merged by Hyundai? The purpose of this research paper is therefore threefold. Firstly, the authors present a few Kia’s cases of new product development in the perspective of styling, and a compound of primary sources in the past will be handled to examine the distinctive corporate uniqueness in organisational perspective. Secondly, it is significant to analyse how Kia mobilsed both internal and external resources to develop styling competitiveness. Last but not least, this paper delivers an essential debate on the inevitable historical cohesiveness between automotive styling and organisational capability in the specific case of Kia Motors Corporation in the 1980s and 90s. Thus, the aim of this study concerns provision of a research thematic primer that leads to theorisation of the reciprocal dynamics between corporate organisation and automotive styling capability that ultimately entails global branding competitiveness.

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