Rethinking Corporate Governance
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Rethinking Corporate Governance

The Forming of Operative and Financial Strategies in Global Corporations

Sven-Erik Sjöstrand

Rethinking Corporate Governance’s extensive and insightful empirical investigation offers a radically new approach to corporate governance. This ground-breaking volume describes and analyses the key nature-based and actor-based forces that ultimately determine corporate governance processes and long-term corporate paths. Generally, such forces work in complex and intricate interplays that to a large extent vary among corporations. The author argues that actions taken by individuals have a special status among those forces, as they not only generate impact in themselves, but also involve interpretations of the possible effects of all the other forces. Among those actions, the ones taken by the shareholders stand out as particularly decisive both for the governance processes as such and for how corporations develop over time.
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Chapter 13: SCA: the search for a new core business

Sven-Erik Sjöstrand

Extract

As already introduced briefly in Chapter 5, SCA’s development from 1929 to the 1950s was largely influenced by its attempts to integrate a dozen independent organizations. The process had to be carried out in two steps: first, the establishment of regional groupings and then the formation of an integrated corporation. SCA’s leading actors were supportive, and initially they wanted to see strong subsidiaries that dominated their regional markets; later they intended to exploit the potential scale advantages inherent in the grouping as a whole. The controlling bank (Handelsbanken) also backed that two-step strategy because it would simplify a future sell-out of (units of) SCA. In a memo, Ernfrid Browaldh (Deputy CEO of the bank) addressed the organizing issue, providing both a description of the merits of the suggested grouping and a sketch of an imagined holding company. His organizational chart for SCA also outlined a possible division of responsibility between the mother company and the rather independent subsidiaries. Apart from the efforts to co-ordinate the mother company with its relatively autonomous subsidiaries, there were also strong forces that favoured rationalization of the central units and the idea to move the group’s HQ from Stockholm to Sundsvall. The HQ re-location would put top management in closer contact with the company’s everyday operations.

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