Institutional Leaderships: The Case of Crédito Agrícola in Portugal

Institutional Leaderships: The Case of Crédito Agrícola in Portugal

Maria Heliodora Vieira Geraldes de Matos (Department of Management, School of Economics and Management, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal) and Carolina Feliciana de Sá Cunha Machado (Department of Management, School of Economics and Management, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/ijamse.2014010105


Leadership is a core foundation for banking organizations necessary to operate in today's environment. It is important to see how leaders perceive themselves as agents of success, both for the organization and its goals, as well as for the employees that work under their supervision. This paper intends to address these issues. This study was conducted through Crédito Agricola (CA) branches in Portugal and Azores, using online questionnaires. Data were collected from 85 leaders with different positions within the bank. Leaders generally perceive themselves as objective and impartial, capable of knowing the employees areas of personal and professional interest. Leaders are interested in developing their subordinates' capabilities, through on the job training and other skill enhancement alternatives. Data show that leaders prefer making decisions with participation of other team members and not alone. Data were collected through nonprobability sampling (quota sampling and purposive sampling). Relations between leaders and subordinates are analysed, and the paper addresses the leaders' personal views regarding their role in the decision process that affects their teams as well as the organization as a whole.
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2. Crédito Agrícola In Portugal

Although its roots date back to the late 15th century, the true CA was created in 1911 with the Decree-Law of that date which regulated the creation and functioning of the Caixas Agrícolas, or Mutual Agricultural Credit Banks. CA is one of the few private financial institutions with exclusively Portuguese capital.

It is a cooperative-based banking institution within a model that is well represented in the European Union financial systems, especially in Germany, France, the Netherlands and Italy. According to the CCAM Serras de Ansião Directors’ Report for 2010 (2011: 13-14): “At European level, cooperative banks have a market share of over 20%, provide a service for 170 million clients from 4.100 local banks with 65.000 branches, and employ hundreds of thousands of people. Some of the cooperative banks are among the leading institutions in Europe”. In accordance with their cooperative nature, the CCAM act as boosters of regional development.

At the end of 2010 financial year, the CA’s liquid assets stood at around 14 billion euro, representing around 8% of the Portuguese Gross Domestic Product (CCAM Serras de Ansião, 2011). This testifies to its national importance and its relevance in the country’s financial system.

According to the above-mentioned Report, in some districts of the Portuguese mainland the CA network represents over 30% of the existing banking network, has 10% of the national ATM (Automated Teller Machine) network - 400 of these in places where no other type of banking service exists – and almost 15.700 on-site EFTPOS (Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale) machines, as well as having a 7% share in the cards market, in function of its service provision as acquirer.

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