Multi-business firms in many industries such as industrial goods, finance, telecommunications as well as chemicals and retail currently pursue the realization of synergies between their businesses (cross-business synergies) with high priority to increase corporate performance. In a recent survey of 116 German, Swiss, and Austrian multibusiness firms, over 70% were continuously realizing synergies between their businesses (Müller-Stewens & Knoll 2006). Firms that have only just started dedicated corporate initiatives to realize their cross-business synergy potential include Vodafone, GE, ABB, Philips, Siemens, Allianz, Zurich Financials, UBS, Credit Suisse, Citigroup, Deutsche Telecom, British Telecom, Swisscom, Nestlé, Unilever, and Xerox. In addition to raising their efficiency and reducing their costs, companies increasingly focus on achieving profitable corporate growth by collaborating across their internal businesses (Müller-Stewens & Knoll 2006). For many of these firms cross-business growth is the major lever of growth in their saturated markets. For instance, as the head of corporate strategy of ABB commented: “By 2007, cross-business collaborations will be our primary engine for organic growth” (E 24).


Organization Design Corporate Strategy Business Firm Diversify Firm Resource Combination 
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© Betriebswirtschaftlicher Verlag Dr. Th. Gabler | GWV Fachverlage GmbH, Wiesbaden 2008

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