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Strategic alliances and competitive edge: insights from Spanish and UK banking histories


  • Bernardo Batiz-Lazo


This research assesses the success of collaboration agreements through changes in competitive strength rather than the longevity of the transactions or the formality and visible structure of the agreements. To establish competitive strength, as development and renewal of capabilities, the research proceeds through the review of the alliance between the Co-operative Permanent Building Society, the Co-operative Wholesaling Society, Scottish Co-operative Wholesaling Society and Co-operative Insurance Society (1943-65). This cooperative agreement allows insights into the strategy of non-banks and nonfinance participants aiming to enter British bank markets. The research also considers the rather different process at Spanish savings banks, with a particular focus on IT outsourcing (1977-95). Cases in the UK and Spain form an historical argument and are used to demonstrate how the implementation of strategy is as important as strategic visioning to achieve competitive advantage in bank markets.

Suggested Citation

  • Bernardo Batiz-Lazo, 2004. "Strategic alliances and competitive edge: insights from Spanish and UK banking histories," Business History, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(1), pages 23-56.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:bushst:v:46:y:2004:i:1:p:23-56 DOI: 10.1080/00076790412331270109

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jacobsen, Siv Fagerland & Tschoegl, Adrian E, 1999. "The Norwegian Banks in the Nordic Consortia: A Case of International Strategic Alliances in Banking," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(1), pages 137-165, March.
    2. Engwall, L. & Wallenstål, M., 1988. "Tit for tat in small steps: the internationalization of Swedish banks," Scandinavian Journal of Management, Elsevier, vol. 4(3-4), pages 147-155.
    3. Kindleberger, Charles P., 1983. "International banks as leaders or followers of international business : An historical perspective," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 583-595, December.
    4. Ball, Clifford A. & Tschoegl, Adrian E., 1982. "The Decision to Establish a Foreign Bank Branch or Subsidiary: An Application of Binary Classification Procedures," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 17(03), pages 411-424, September.
    5. Heinkel, Robert L. & Levi, Maurice D., 1992. "The structure of international banking," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 251-272, June.
    6. Edward Brown Flowers, 1976. "Oligopolistic Reactions in European and Canadian Direct Investment in the United States," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 7(2), pages 43-56, June.
    7. Chwo-Ming J Yu & Kiyohiko Ito, 1988. "Oligopolistic Reaction and Foreign Direct Investment: The Case of the U.S. Tire and Textiles Industries," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 19(3), pages 449-460, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bernardo BÁTIZ-LAZO & Peter WARDLEY, 2005. "Banking on Change: Information systems and technologies in UK High Street Banking, 1919-1979," Economic History 0503001, EconWPA.
    2. Maixe-Altes, J. Carles, 2009. "The diversity of organisational forms in banking: France, Italy and Spain 1900-2000," MPRA Paper 14838, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Batiz-Lazo, Bernardo & Maixe-Altes, J. Carles, 2009. "Managing technological change by committee: Adoption of computers in Spanish and British savings banks (circa 1960-1988)," MPRA Paper 27086, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Batiz-Lazo, Bernardo & Maixe-Altes, J. Carles, 2006. "Organisational change and the computerisation of British and Spanish savings banks, 1965-1985," MPRA Paper 804, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Batiz-Lazo, Bernardo & Maixe-Altes, J. Carles, 2008. "Organisational change and the computerisation of British and Spanish savings banks, circa 1965-1985," MPRA Paper 14479, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Maixe-Altes, J. Carles, 2011. "Governance in Spanish Savings Banks. A Historical Perspective," MPRA Paper 29535, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Batiz-Lazo, Bernardo, 2006. "Changes In The Depreciation Of Buildings In An English Building Society, Circa 1959: Financial And Governance Implications," MPRA Paper 4617, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Maixe-Altes, J. Carles, 2012. "Las cajas de ahorro y el cambio tecnológico antes de Internet, 1945-1995
      [Technological change in Spanish Savings Banks before Internet, 1945-1995]
      ," MPRA Paper 37726, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Maixe-Altes, J. Carles, 2010. "Diverging Paths to a Network World: Computerizing Spanish and British Savings Banks, 1960-1990," MPRA Paper 25966, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Grifell-Tatjé, E., 2011. "Profit, productivity and distribution: Differences across organizational forms - The case of Spanish banks," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 72-83, June.

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