Sociocultural integration of acquisitions as experienced by veteran organizational development consultants: A qualitative exploratory inquiry

by Covington, Bathild Junius June, Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2012, 348 pages; 3547123


Acquisitions fail to deliver on their stated objectives at a rate of 50% to 80%. One of the most prevalent explanations places blame on conflicting organizational cultures and associated sociocultural morès. Acquisitions that successfully integrate sociocultural components more likely achieve the stated objectives of the acquisition, and failure to meet the stated objectives of an acquisition can negatively influence the viability of an organization. Most organizational development (OD) consultants view sociocultural integration of acquisitions from a systems perspective, affording consideration of multiple facets of an organization in sociocultural integration activities. Yet little scholarly research exists on sociocultural integration of acquisitions from the perspective of veteran OD consultants. Veteran OD consultants' experiences with sociocultural integration of acquisitions comprised this qualitative exploratory inquiry. Literature on organizational culture and leadership, OD and large-scale change, acquisitions, and sociocultural integration were critically reviewed, and data from qualitative in-depth telephone interviews with 15 participants informed the question of how veteran OD consultants describe and explain their experiences in sociocultural integration of acquisitions. The participants in this study indicated that acquisitions are chaotic, complex, and typically overwhelming to senior managers and organizational members. The study participants indicated that senior management teams that exhibit collective certainty regarding the purpose of the acquisition can positively influence integration. These veteran OD consultants also indicated that senior managers who communicate the purpose of the acquisition with certainty, and communicate effectively throughout the newly formed organization during all steps of the integration process could positively influence integration. The study participants indicated that organizational members' understanding of what the acquisition means to them on a practical level can influence integration positively. The participants also indicated that at times senior managers are distracted by the demands of ensuring profitability of the newly formed organization and do not have the time to attend to the people side of integration. These veteran OD consultants indicated that senior managers who do not make decisions based on assumptions, and demonstrate trustworthiness in how they communicate and facilitate employee redundancy, retention, and recruitment during integration can positively influence integration.

AdviserLaura Markos
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsManagement; Organizational behavior
Publication Number3547123

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