The case reveals the challenges faced by a traditional Swiss wealth management firm, Julius Baer, which is trying to modernize amidst the industry transforming changes in regulation and technology. At the same time, the bank needs to integrate the myriad of acquired cultures and address a sudden change in the top leadership.
To achieve this, one ofthe directions initiated by the bank was to focus on empowering the middle-level management to enable them to operate more independently from senior management, decentralize decision-making and promote collaboration at all layers of the organization.
To boost this initiative the bank introduced a customised firm wide training program for selected employees to develop their in-depth understanding of the leadership culture and learn other aspects to drive their teams' performance.
This case explores the experiences of three middle managers, with varied functions, years of experienceand career trajectories who were asked to lead larger teams under this new style of organization.
This case can be used to achieve several learning objectives:
- What does the term empowerment mean in the contextof organizational design?
- Why does empowerment matter?
- How should an organization empower its employees?
- What are the conditions necessary for empowerment to succeed as a strategy?