Different experiences of socio‐cultural integration: a European merger in Mexico

Anna A. Łupina‐Wegener (University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland)
Susan C. Schneider (University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland)
Rolf van Dick (Department of Psychology, Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany)

Journal of Organizational Change Management

ISSN: 0953-4814

Publication date: 15 February 2011



Building on social identity theory, the purpose of this paper is to present a study on the socio‐cultural integration process in a merger of two European pharmaceutical subsidiaries in Mexico. The paper investigates antecedents of perceived threat to pre‐merger identities in an officially claimed “merger‐of‐equals”.


A mixed‐methods approach was adopted comprising semi‐structured interviews (with 37 interview partners) and standardized employee surveys with 890 respondents.


Findings indicate that identity of the new organization was largely shared among members of the different subgroups. Though the employees considered their pre‐merger identities to be at stake (as demonstrated through the interviews), this experienced threat was not very strongly expressed in the survey. In fact, the sub‐groups were able to maintain distinctiveness, acknowledge the value added of each group, and had access to resources.

Research limitations/implications

The main study limitation concerns the fact that this research was conducted using a cross‐sectional design. It would be interesting in future research to observe the processes as they unfold over time.

Practical implications

The paper's findings may help managers and change agents to understand that within merger partners, subgroups exist and different concerns in terms of their identity may emerge.


The results shed light on how shared identity in the new organization can successfully develop despite different perceptions of the integration process of members from the acquired and the acquiring groups. In contrast to past research findings on M&As, positive results were achieved despite contradictory perceptions of integration process of members of the acquired and the acquiring groups.



Łupina‐Wegener, A., Schneider, S. and van Dick, R. (2011), "Different experiences of socio‐cultural integration: a European merger in Mexico", Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 24 No. 1, pp. 65-89. https://doi.org/10.1108/09534811111102292

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