Empowerment at Julius Baer
Case Study

Empowerment at Julius Baer

11 pages
November 2020
Reference: IMD-7-2219

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 of
the 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 firmwide 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 experience
and career trajectories who were asked to lead larger teams
under this new style of organization.

Learning Objective

This case can be used to achieve several learning objectives:

  1. What does the term empowerment mean in the contextof organizational design?
  2. Why does empowerment matter?
  3. How should an organization empower its employees?
  4. What are the conditions necessary for empowerment to succeed as a strategy?
Empowerment, Cultural Change, Leadership, Strategy, Talent Management, Human Resources
Julius Bär Group, Banking
2018 - 2019
Field Research
© IMD 2020
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