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Schulze, Bernd; Thielmann, Bodo; Sieprath, Stephan and Hess, Thomas ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3969-7477 (2005): The Bertelsmann AG: An Exploratory Case Study on Synergy Management in a Globally Acting Media Organization. In: International Journal on Media Management, Vol. 7, No. 3-4: pp. 138-147

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By the multiple usage of immaterial resources across organizational and national market borders, globally acting media conglomerates are able to achieve outstanding synergies. For this reason, they are expected to realize higher margins of profit than smaller-size, nondiversified media firms. However, no empirical evidence has been found for a positive correlation between a firm's size or its presence in many businesses of the media industry and its economic performance until now. Consequently, possible synergies do not seem to be fully exploited in many cases. This article analyzes how to institutionalize and implement synergy management in decentralized media organizations. For these purposes, we first develop a basic understanding and then conduct an exploratory case study on Bertelsmann's approach, which overcomes the stress ratio between corporate coordination and independent action at the operational level. Distinguishing various product types and triggers, this case study renders the process of synergy management more precisely and illustrates how to arrange responsibilities between organizational units. Finally, by relating the results of the case study to the body of literature, we work out patterns of responsibility assignment and drivers of success for strategic integration. In contrast to operational integration, the latter may lead to synergies due to cross-divisional cooperation and business development.

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