Handelsbanken: banking done differently

Posted on August 25, 2017 by Cheapest Assignment

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Handelsbanken: banking done differently

– Olof Brunninge

  • Due to be submitted September 4 – 2017 in Tutorial Class.
  1. Introduction

This case study provides students with the opportunity to consider internationalisation processes and to connect them to the internal conditions of, notably the corporate culture, of the firm that is going international. Handelsbanken developed into a rather standard type of universal bank during its first 100 years of existence. However, when a newly appointed managing director took over in the 1970s, the bank developed a unique culture of decentralisation, differentiating it from most of its competitors. Once Handelsbanken went international around 1990, the bank’s culture had a major impact on how the internationalisation was undertaken.

Handelsbanken: banking done differently

  1. Position of the case

The main links to Exploring Strategy are to Chapter 9, addressing internationalisation processes of firms. The case provides a basis for discussing the choice of entry modes, as well as international structures, for instance linked to the global/local dilemma (Section 9.4, International Strategies). While such issues are often discussed from an external perspective, the case provides a strong link to corporate culture, as discussed in Chapter 6 of Exploring Strategy.

  1. Learning objectives

Study of the case involves students in understanding of:

  • The choice of entry modes, including the pros and cons of different modes, in an internationalisation process.
  • The management of cultural change and the long-term endurance of corporate culture.
  • The need to achieve fit between corporate culture and the choice of (internationalisation) strategy.
  1. MAXIMUM length max 2400 words (appendices and reference list not included in word count)

It is important that students undertake additional reading from other sources and that their ‘practical’ work is supplemented by other material as mentioned above. Frequently company websites can be used to provide additional information, especially the latest financial figures.

  1. Format – Professional / Business report

o Executive summary –

o answer first 4 questions and

o then question 5 recommendations

o include a reference list

5 Questions for discussion

  1. Handelsbanken is known for its culture being different from that of its competitors. Characterise Handelsbanken’s culture and discuss how the culture is spread and kept alive in the bank.
  2. What entry modes into foreign markets has Handelsbanken applied throughout its history? Discuss what impact Handelsbanken’s culture has had on the choice of entry modes into different foreign markets. Would there have been different options if the bank had had a different culture?
  3. Like all internationalised organisations, Handelsbanken is facing the global-local dilemma. Discuss how this dilemma is handled in practice. What is done globally and what is done locally?
  4. How is Handelsbanken making sure that its culture is kept alive in an expanding organisation and how can this culture be kept alive during further expansion?
  5. Your recommendation to the CEO or 2018 and beyond.
  • In your recommendation consider that the bank’s culture had a major impact on how the internationalisation was undertaken. Is a strategy that involves being radically different a wise choice. How different can a strategy be? For how long? Which advantages and risks are associated with radical difference.

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