The Process of Post-Merger Organizational Identification : An analysis of mergers and acquisitions

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

Abstract: Today, mergers and acquisitions often grab headlines due to the large sums of money involved, and the number of stakeholders affected by it. Still, the increase in merger and acquisition activities, the capital involved, and the pervasiveness of these activities stand in sharp contrast to their high rates of failures. Scholars have attributed the failure of mergers and acquisitions to management failure when it comes to dealing with human aspects during the integration phase. The purpose of this paper was to examine how individual’s identities change overtime in a merger. More specifically, it examines the process of post-merger organizational identification in merger contexts through the lens of social identity theory. From this purpose, we formulated the following research question and two sub-questions: • How can post-merger identification be managed and integrated in an organization? o How can organizational identities transit from a pre-merger state to a post-merger state successfully? o What is the outcome of the post-merger identification process? The method used in this study was qualitative with an interpretive approach, which allowed us to gain a deeper understanding regarding the purpose and to answer our research question. Primary data came from purposive sampling, where 14 semi-structured interviews with individuals with various managerial positions in post-merger integrations were conducted to gain an understanding of how they tackled the integration process. The secondary data used resulted from previous research, literature, articles and other internet sources. The interviews were qualitatively analyzed through a thematic coding procedure. The backbone of our theory consists of perspectives on mergers and acquisitions from the lens of social identity theory. Particularly, it was used to understand the post-merger organizational identification process. The theoretical components were used to understand group formations and intra- and intergroup relationships, the effects mergers have on individuals, and what the effects of the outcomes of post-merger identification have on group and organizational identity. Our findings disclose that organizational identities are exclusive by nature and that they remain in this state unless managerial actions are taken which triggers commitment from groups to change. These actions must combine communication efforts with managerial interventions which promote intergroup cooperation, prototypical norms and values. Depending on the actions and the goal of the merger, the nature of the post-merger identity is a combination of two identities which forms an overarching one, or an assimilation of one identity into another. The contributions from this study come in two forms: theoretical and managerial. The theoretical contributions come through our findings showing how organizational identity emerge, change and how they are formed. The managerial contributions provide recommendations on how practitioners should facilitate the process, the vital role the manager has in the process and approaches they could take based on our findings.

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