Strategic and Organizational Evolution of Spanish Firms: Towards a Holding Network Form?
The main objective of this study is to analyse the strategic and organizational evolution of large firms in a current time period and within a specific geographical context (Spain). In order to achieve this purpose, the paper combines the Chandlerian programme with processual analysis. We draw on documentary sources (annual reports, company histories, business directories and so on) and interviews. We have found that in the model of corporate development some characteristics of new organizational structures will coexist with some features of old ones. In line with previous studies our findings highlight the existence of the 'multidivisional network' but, most importantly, our findings also reflect the emergence of a new kind of organizational form that we call 'holding network'. The 'holding network' is more decentralized, both strategically and operationally, than the multidivisional form. However, its level of decentralization is less than in the N-form. Furthermore, whereas the multidivisional form is a hierarchy, the 'holding network' emphasizes the communication among people of different levels. This multilevel communication differs from that in the N-form. Apart from the horizontal communication in the same level there is vertical and horizontal communication between different levels. We conclude by emphasizing the need to explore in future empirical studies to what extent these patterns and new organizational forms should be considered as a transitory or consolidated phenomenon.