How Individuals Whose Companies Have Been Acquired Transition Organizational Cultures Successfully
By: Brenda Greer Geiselmann
Published: 05/16/2012
Uploaded: 11/10/2017
Uploaded by: Pocket Masters
Pockets: Gottesman Libraries Archive, Historical Dissertations
Tags: Companies, organizational cultures, transition

Description/Abstract: This exploratory study consists of a series of mini-cases and was designed to shed light on how individuals successfully transition organizational cultures after their company has been acquired. In interviews with 18 professionals who transitioned from investment banks to commercial banks, participants discussed: (1) how they made meaning of the new environment; (2) how they came to identify ways of surviving in the combined organization; and (3) how they learned to succeed. The study yielded insights for transitioning employees and senior management as to the critical success factors and competencies necessary for an individual’s cultural integration.
The study’s findings indicated that lack of information during the post-acquisition
period caused uncertainty around job security and was manifested in a high degree of employee stress. Building relationships and dialoguing with others helped transitioners become organizational “insiders.” In addition, participants noted great differences in business models, view of the employee, and relationship with the employer between the investment bank and the commercial bank cultures.

Three qualitatively distinct groups (the Passive Group, the Active Group, and the Strategic Group) were identified from the sample population. Overall, members of each group shared a common set of behaviors, understandings, and characteristics. The
Passive Group had a low tolerance for ambiguity, kept a low profile, and learned by following instructions and through trial and error. The Active Group members found common ground with people across the new organization and got to know different ways of carrying out their new roles. The Strategic Group created a game plan. They seek opportunities to identify and partner with influential managers and learned those valued skills and behaviors which could benefit their future. Conclusions noted the necessity for individuals in an uncertain and discontinuous work world to develop a tolerance for ambiguity, complexity, and cultural agility and that becoming actively involved in integration activities may be a catalyst to a successful transition. A further conclusion was that relationship building and dialoguing with others gives insight into the new corporate mindset and functioning. Self-awareness, mutual understanding, and collaboration between employees and new management are factors which could increase engagement, goal achievement, and learning.