We explore how strategic initiatives emerge at the business unit level in the context of multi-business firms. Findings show that such initiatives create cross-business synergies in the absence of any direct intervention from the headquarters. Four factors appeared to foster the development of autonomous cross-business collaboration: a sense of urgency at the level of the firm, the existence of a few broad but strong corporate strategic guidelines, the existence of a set of cross-business integration mechanisms, and an organizational culture promoting collaboration. Our findings suggest that, in addition to developing and enforcing top-down cross-business initiatives, headquarters would benefit from acknowledging the importance of business units' local knowledge by creating an organizational environment characterized by the four conditions identified in this paper.
- corporate strategy
- multi-business corporations
- autonomous initiatives
- cross business strategic initiatives