In this study, nine managers of a Dutch multinational engineering company were interviewed on the success and failure factors of post‐acquisition processes they were involved in over the past five years. When referring to their experiences, the managers mainly spoke about failures and how to avoid these in future. The focus of this study was on the cognitive map structure of the perspectives of managers as disclosed by the interview data. Three different collective maps were found, representing “the Strategists”, strategic business unit‐presidents, and human resource (HR)‐managers. The maps show differences in perspectives on four central themes: control versus cooperation; how to handle the culture of the acquired firm; trust versus distrust; and speed versus carefulness. If the maps are compared with literature on management acquisition processes, the HR‐managers' map shows richer insights into how to manage human factors in acquisition processes than the other two. Instead of exploiting these valuable insights, the differences in perspectives fostered distrust between the two management levels, which constrained mutual learning.
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