Abstract: Organizational Culture, Narratives, and Organizational Change: The Transformation of Savings Banks in Denmark, 1965-1990

Per H. Hansen


In this paper I discuss the organizational change of Danish savings banks from self-governing, non-profit organizations into joint-stock corporations and commercial banks. This change took place from around 1965 and was completed in 1990. I focus on three key events in this transformation and I analyze them in order to show how the narrative of the savings banks were instrumental in understanding their organizational culture and identity. Furthermore, I argue that these narratives lay behind the savings banks' culture and that they were important obstacles to organizational and institutional change, because they created path dependence. Finally, I use this perspective to argue that Douglass North's concept of informal institutions needs much more elaboration and stringency and that narratives should be considered informal institutions.