Cultures don’t clash … people do. Hidden below the veil of “incompatible cultures” is a complex network of human-to-human interaction involving information-exchange transactions that have gone awry. The multitude of these troubled exchanges results in what is often branded as “M&A failure, due to culture conflict.”
This chapter presents a theoretical discussion that features practical dynamics of the post-merger integration (PMI) process. The aim is to cultivate a deeper understanding of critical, less-acknowledged micro-level aspects of the post-merger integration stage, specifically, those which underlie the development and maintenance of an organization’s culture and lead to organization performance. It is the unseen information exchange among human actors that leads to the perceptible post-merger outcomes, such as cultural unity and task performance. The quality of these micro-exchanges leads to the value capture from the M&A transaction, thus determining the success – or not – of the combination.
Presented is a synthesis of numerous existing theories, perspectives, and ideas from various scholarly communities, combined with a drill-down to the basic human interactions that define a culture and lead to positive performance. Information flow is the sustenance of an organization, so when merging organizations restructure the information flow is abruptly disrupted, often at pronounced near-term cost. The information-flow channels must be mended for social unification and performance value goals of the combined organization to be realized. The information-transporting social networks of the organizational actors must therefore adapt and intermingle across the old-organizational faultlines. This is accomplished when individual actors alter their personal social networks and retool themselves for a new set of information-exchange interactions.
In closing, the author counsels managers to focus on the dyadic information exchange of their direct-reports as an actionable approach to PMI management. The chapter concludes by pointing researchers toward studying the micro-level aspects of PMI and offers computer modeling and simulation, and laboratory experiments as effective ways to study PMI dynamics at the micro-level of organization behavior. Such methods may also lead to an ability to forecast outcomes of specific post-merger integration scenarios.
Frantz, T.L. (2015), "Post-Merger Integration: Looking under the Haziness of Culture Conflict", Advances in Mergers and Acquisitions (Advances in Mergers and Acquisitions, Vol. 14), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 103-127. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1479-361X20150000014007
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