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From light touch to top management control: HSBC’s integration of its first two acquired subsidiaries 1960-1980

Lu, Qing; Toms, Steven; Wei, Yingqi


Steven Toms

Yingqi Wei


This research contributes to British multinational banking history, post-acquisition integration and legitimacy research, by exploring HSBC’s top management control integration with its first two acquired British banks, during the period 1960–1980, from the social psychological perspective of legitimacy judgement. It explores why HSBC’s key decision-maker’s legitimacy judgement of the initial decision to retain its acquired subsidiaries’ top management control shifted from legitimate to illegitimate and how HSBC built legitimacy for its integration decisions with the subsidiaries’ staff. It thus complements Chandler (1990) and Jones (1993) by exploring the critical role played by individuals in the integration process and showing that slower integration also had benefits for the parent’s Group interests due to the distinctive characteristics of the banking business. In addition, due to the uniqueness of HSBC, this research also has some indications for research about the post-acquisition integration of emerging market-based multinationals.


Lu, Q., Toms, S., & Wei, Y. (in press). From light touch to top management control: HSBC’s integration of its first two acquired subsidiaries 1960-1980. Business history, 1-23.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 22, 2021
Online Publication Date Feb 18, 2021
Deposit Date Feb 26, 2021
Publicly Available Date Oct 27, 2022
Journal Business History
Print ISSN 0007-6791
Electronic ISSN 1743-7938
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Pages 1-23
Keywords Post-acquisition integration; Legitimacy judgement; Legitimisation strategy; Socio-psychological perspective; Managerial hierarchies; Light touch; British multinational banks; Emerging multinational companies; Case study; Joint disciplinary research; HSBC
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