Manoeuvring in the Open Banking Era: The Case of Nordea

Henriette Kvist & Martine Torhaug Monkvik

Student thesis: Master thesis


The purpose of this study was to find out how an incumbent bank can become a leading player in the open banking era. The open banking era is characterised by new regulations (PSD2), technology, increased competition from new entrants in the market, and declining customer loyalty. To best possible grasp the factors influencing the firm’s abilities to innovate and develop the business, we conducted an exploratory analysis with a deductive approach. Using theories from the field of innovation and strategic management, a conceptual framework was constructed, which guided the thesis towards understanding how an incumbent bank can become a leading player in the open banking era. The data for our research was primarily collected by interviewing ten managers and employees from all the four Nordic countries working with Nordea’s “Scandinavian open banking initiative”, using a semi-structured interview technique. Our research scope is limited to focusing on how Nordea can become a leading player in the open banking era through the use of open innovation. Through our sub questions, we found that Nordea have competitive advantages (position and size, preferred partner of choice, and compliance), are engaged in outside-in and coupled innovation process as well as internal programs for innovation, however they are lacking absorptive capacity and inherit organisational inertia due to their large size. Our main finding is that Nordea is a visionary and not a leader player in the open banking era. However, they could become a leading player in the future, by further developing their innovation activities and scope, as well as improve factors as absorptive capacity and organisational inertia.

EducationsMSc in Finance and Strategic Management, (Graduate Programme) Final ThesisMSc in Management of Innovation and Business Development, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2018
Number of pages103
SupervisorsJonas Hedman