Using a Chandlerian strategy/structure framework for comparative purposes, the authors examine the early development of an important public institution, The World Bank Group. As they demonstrate, The Bank gradually evolved toward the model provided by the multidivisional or M-form corporation. In its early years, The Bank was a centralized organization with functional departments and a unique check and balance system to control lending. Guided by signals coming from its development personnel, The Bank evolved incrementally until 1952, when a formal reorganization took place. In the years that followed, functional considerations continued to reshape this innovative institution. Then, under President Robert McNamara, The Bank acquired a new and broader mission that led to another formal reorganization in 1972. The authors analyze the cultural as well as organizational aspects of these changes, relating them to a series of long cycles of innovation at The Bank.