Milk or wine come rain or shine: Culture and politics in a Dutch-Belgian banking group after an international takeover

Bristow, Alexandra (2013). Milk or wine come rain or shine: Culture and politics in a Dutch-Belgian banking group after an international takeover. In: Fatien Diochon, Pauline; Raufflet, Emmanuel and Mills, Albert J. eds. The Dark Side 2: Critical Cases on the Downside of Business. Greenleaf Publishing in association with GSE Research, pp. 187–196.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.9774/gleaf.978-1-909493-90-2_9

URL: https://www.routledge.com/The-Dark-Side-2-Critical...

Abstract

This case explores some of the consequences of the seemingly unstoppable drive for internationalisation for the workforce of a European banking group. Set in 2004, it tells the story of Roger, a student at a UK university, who joins a small unit in the banking group—the Dutch merchant bank Seers—on an internship designed to investigate the socio-cultural implications of the group's latest international acquisition. On the commencement of his internship, Roger immediately gets sucked into the tug of war between the Dutch and the Belgian parts of the group's merchant banking. As Roger's interview count grows, he develops an affinity for the Dutch side of the battle, which his Amsterdam colleagues see as a fight for economic rationality set against Belgian politicking. But when Roger is sent on a reconnaissance mission to Brussels, the Belgians have a different story to tell, which leads to the Group Headquarters back in the Netherlands. After a trip to the very top of the organisation and having been shown ‘the big picture’ by a Group CEO, how will Roger position his report at the end of the internship?

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