The Influence of Culture on Successful Cooperation
Edited by Jan Ulijn, Geert Duysters and Elise Meijer
Chapter 8: Managing Potential Conflicts in a European Banking Alliance in ICT: Study of Intro- and Mutual Perception Combined for a Cultural Fit
Jan Eppink, Jan Ulijn and Beatrice van der Heijden INTRODUCTION Looking over the field of strategic cooperation in general, and that of strategic alliances in particular, we can notice many cases of success as well as many cases of failure. Problems with cultural differences between partners are often given as an explanation for failure. No doubt this is the case in many of the failed attempts. In other cases of strategic cooperation, we notice large differences in national and corporate cultures that do not hinder success. When Air France acquired KLM Royal Dutch Airlines in 2003, one of the first questions that journalists asked Leo van Wijk (at that time the Chief Executive Officer of KLM) pertained to the differences in cultures. Leo van Wijk answered that indeed there were differences, but that he did not worry about them. The cooperation between the two has been a fantastic success with results that were better than expected at the beginning. A tentative conclusion can be that culture alone is not a sufficient explanation for success or failure, and that cultural distance might even create a possibility of a cultural fit. More specifically, it might even imply that cultures are complementary instead of being a source of conflict. This chapter will explore the factors that influence the success or failure of strategic cooperation. First we will look into the questions of what strategic cooperation is and why organizations want to cooperate strategically. If they cooperate for the wrong reasons, or if they...
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