Agility in Post-Merger Integration : A Catalyst to Innovation

University essay from Umeå universitet/Företagsekonomi; Umeå universitet/Företagsekonomi

Abstract: Agility is referred to as the ability of a firm to proactively or reactively adapt successfully to rapid changes within the business environment both internally and externally. The Post-Merger Integration (PMI) phase is characterized by rapid organizational changes which require new strategy methods that suit the nature of today’s fast paced business environments. Though characterized by changes, the PMI presents an opportune moment for the transformation of a business by exploring and exhausting the innovation potential of the integrating firms through the use of agile aspects that seek to identify risks and explore opportunities in a nimble manner. These aspects are several, but in this study, we delve into three namely, flexibility, adaptability and customer focus. The aspects of agility originated from fields of Software Development and are fairly new to the discipline of Business Administration but are considered to be evolving and popular across other fields of study. The current era is noted by scholars as the Scaled Agile Framework Development Era which is characterized by an emergence in agile frameworks that aid in large scale programs of an organization, such as the PMI in this case. This era represents a steppingstone to business agility, the future of agility that seeks to transform an organization to be adaptive to changes. The purpose of this study is to develop an agile framework drawing from empirical findings of the use of agility aspects in the context of a merger and acquisition, more specifically, the post-merger integration phase, to act as an innovation catalyst. To obtain insights and a better understanding on what we set ourselves to research, we explore an embedded single case study of a firm operating in a traditional industry, the maritime industry, in order to investigate the following research question:How can agility in the context of a Post-Merger Integration (PMI) contribute toinnovation? Eight semi-structured interviews with senior executives and senior managers of the case company were conducted in order to draw insights on their previous experiences with mergers and acquisitions. Empirical evidence was collected and coded in line with the Gioia methodology and with the aid of references to extant literature we began to build theory thereof. Our findings revealed that agile aspects may be adopted to complement and not necessarily replace existing hierarchical structures, procedures and processes within the PMI. Additionally, all three aspects of agility we sought to investigate prove to be useful to promote innovation in PMIs when adopted. The theoretical contribution of our study is the development of an agile framework that may be utilized in the PMI to identify, exploit and exhaust the innovation potential of the M&A activity. Furthermore, the framework may be validated in a different company or setting other than the company under study.

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