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Title: Breaking through the Double Blockade: Inter-Atlantic Wartime Communications at Roche
Authors: Kurosawa, Takafumi  kyouindb  KAKEN_id
Author's alias: 黒澤, 隆文
Keywords: information
multinational enterprise
holding company
business history
political risk
Issue Date: 1-Jan-2015
Publisher: De Gruyter
Journal title: Jahrbuch für Wirtschaftsgeschichte / Economic History Yearbook
Volume: 56
Issue: 1
Start page: 227
End page: 256
Abstract: This paper examines the roles of information and knowledge sharing, and of communication in businesses during the interwar period and during World War II (WWII). It focuses on F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd. (Roche), a Swiss pharmaceutical company. During WWII, the Axis Powers and the Allies imposed a double blockade on Switzerland and Roche’s market was divided between the two belligerent camps. Roche coped by mobilizing a unique twinstructure, a provision introduced during the interwar period, by transforming the ownership structure in terms of both ownership and control. While this strategy enabled its expansion in the U.S. market and safeguarded the group against various political risks, it also destabilized the group’s unity. As intensive as it may have been, telecommunication across the Atlantic was not sufficient for sharing crucial knowledge and checking the U.S. subsidiary’s thirst for independence. To control the situation, the financial director of Roche’s Basel headquarters travelled to the United States, breaking the double blockade. Eventually, the on-site, face-to-face communication and a long-distance telephone call contributed to the survival of the company as a unified organization.
Description: Published Online: 2015-05-01
Rights: The full-text file will be made open to the public on 1 May 2016 in accordance with publisher's 'Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving'.
DOI(Published Version): 10.1515/jbwg-2015-0009
Appears in Collections:Journal Articles

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