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ABN AMRO REAL: A New Bank for a New Society

21 Pages Posted: 7 May 2010 Last revised: 2 Nov 2013

Patricia Palacios

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

Michael Pirson

Fordham University - Graduate School of Business Administration; Harvard University; Humanistic Management Network

Date Written: May 7, 2010


This case highlights ABN AMRO Banco Real, a Brazilian bank, whose top management embarked on a humanistic transformation process when faced with a post-merger situation. As the CEO of a very typical bank, Fabio Barbosa examined the possibilities of creating a culture of shared values to better integrate the different banking branches. Exhibiting all the traits of a transformational leader, he reflected on the normative basis of banking in general. Together with his team, he concluded that the new organization needed to be of service to the community, while serving authentic needs; only then would they be able to create a shared culture among the diverse workforce. Many of the community’s needs were rooted in the social and environmental problems that Brazil faced. Implementing a transformation could, however, only be accomplished by refocusing the purpose of the bank towards creating social value instead of maximizing its profits. This proposition required profit as a means, but not an end in itself. A new philosophy, ‘banking with values’, has been the crux of the cultural revolution that has taken place in the organization ever since. New products and services have been created, the bank continues to be profitable, and has in turn created high levels of stakeholder trust.

Keywords: Bank, Brazil, Organizational change, humanism, Transformation

JEL Classification: I3, I30, I00, I31, M00, M1, M10, M14

Suggested Citation

Palacios, Patricia and Pirson, Michael, ABN AMRO REAL: A New Bank for a New Society (May 7, 2010). Fordham University Schools of Business Research Paper No. 2010-020. Available at SSRN: or

Patricia Palacios

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München ( email )

Michael Pirson (Contact Author)

Fordham University - Graduate School of Business Administration ( email )

1790 Broadway 1147
New York, NY New York 10019
United States

Harvard University

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Humanistic Management Network ( email )

St. Gallen

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