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In this paper, we responded to recent calls for the use of a greater variety of qualitative methods in the study of inter-organizational encounters, including mergers and…
In this paper, we responded to recent calls for the use of a greater variety of qualitative methods in the study of inter-organizational encounters, including mergers and acquisitions (M&As). The paper provided a reflection on the authors’ experiences in carrying out two studies of merger processes in the UK and Finland, one ethnographic and one combing also auto-ethnographic methods. Contrasts between the former case of an “outsider” entering into an ethnographic study and the latter case of an auto-ethnographer with a dual role as a researcher and integration team member were highlighted. The paper offered three contributions to extant research. First, the paper extended the methodological debate in the study of M&As to the level of individual methods. Second, the paper identified the finding types that emerge when using ethnographic methods in the study of mergers. Third, the paper discussed the unique challenges posed when conducting ethnographic work investigating organizational combinations in times of mergers as opposed to ethnography in traditional, single organizational settings.