Cross-border integration is the central management issue for banks that expand internationally, and this is especially true in Central and Eastern Europe, where the pace of internationalisation through mergers and acquisitions has been rapid. A critical challenge in cross-border integration is aligning a multinational company's formal organizational structure with the distribution of capabilities across its subsidiary units, and this issue is explored by tracking the co-evolution of organizational structure and capabilities during the internationalisation of a large banking network into this region. Our focus is the Vienna head office of Bank Austria Creditanstalt, which was acquired first by HypoVereinsbank (Germany) and then UniCredit (Italy). Despite its formal role being downgraded during these changes, the unit continued to develop its distinctive capabilities. The key insight our article offers is that managing cross-border integration is not simply about recognizing the value of the distinctive capabilities of individual units and designing formal structures that successfully align with them. It is also about understanding the need for dynamic interaction between formal corporate structure and individual units' desires to retain power and influence, which have significant implications for the development of their organizational capabilities.
Ambos, T. C., Schlegelmilch, B. B., Ambos, B., & Brenner, B. (2009). Evolution of Organisational Structure and Capabilities in Internationalising Banks: The CEE Operations of UniCredit's Vienna Office. Long Range Planning, 42(5-6), 633-653. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lrp.2009.09.004