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Factors affecting the role of HR managers in international mergers and acquisitions: A multiple case study

Elina M. Antila (PricewaterhouseCoopers Oy, Helsinki, Finland)
Anne Kakkonen (University of Vaasa, Vaasa, Finland)

Personnel Review

ISSN: 0048-3486

Article publication date: 11 April 2008




The purpose of this paper is to explore the reasons behind human resource (HR) managers' participation in the international mergers and acquisitions (IM&A) process building on the general discussion of the factors explaining the roles of HR in organisations.


Six sets of factors can be found to affect the roles of HR managers in general: the orientation of top management to people management; the skills, abilities and competencies of HR managers themselves; the HR function and its characteristics; the expectations that line managers have of HR; external factors; and internal factors. This review forms the basis for subsequent data analysis in the context of IM&As. The factors that contribute to HR managers' participation are studied from HR and other management's perspectives. Based on interviews with 12 corporate level managers in three Finnish international industrial companies.


The results show that top management sees the participation of HR managers as being very important and agree that it should be a common policy. The factors explaining the roles in the case organisations focused on certain factor groups and were similar across the cases. Based on empirical analysis, this study finds that the most important contributing factors to HR managers' participation are HR managers' own capability and activity throughout the IM&A process.


This study has analysed the reasons related to the roles of HR managers in an IM&A context in general, not just the strategic role within. Based on the case studies it seems, however, that a seat on the management team and HR managers' business competencies as well as personal skills contribute to the strategic role.



Antila, E.M. and Kakkonen, A. (2008), "Factors affecting the role of HR managers in international mergers and acquisitions: A multiple case study", Personnel Review, Vol. 37 No. 3, pp. 280-299.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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