Handbook of Research on Mergers and Acquisitions
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Handbook of Research on Mergers and Acquisitions

Edited by Yaakov Weber

For the last four decades, researchers in various disciplines have been trying to explain the enduring paradox of the growing activity and volume of mergers and acquisitions (M & A) versus the high failure rate of M & A. This Handbook will stimulate scholars to focus on new research directions.
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Chapter 8: Individual values and organizational culture during a merger: immovable objects or shifting sands?

Marie H. Kavanagh and Neal M. Ashkanasy


Mergers and acquisitions continue to be a popular model for organizational growth but, as Cartwright and Schoenberg (2006) note, often with mixed success. In this respect, scholars (for example, Korman et al. 1978; Cartwright and Cooper 1992; Sagiv and Schwartz 1995; Weber 1996, 2000) have acknowledged the role human factors play in determining the success or otherwise of mergers. In line with Cartwright and Cooper (1996), we argue that whether or not individuals view the merger as presenting a threat, providing an opportunity or having little (or no) impact on future working life will depend on the proposed direction and clarity of future change, acceptability of the change, and the values held by the individuals affected. Moreover, as Major (2000) suggested, organizational culture is the active critical ingredient of mergers (Cartwright and Cooper 1992, 1996; Ashkanasy and Holmes 1995; Weber 2000). As such, the individual becomes merely a ‘thing’ to be brought into the organization. This view had led to ambivalence about the role of individuals (Ashkanasy et al. 2000b, 2011) and the importance of individual values when leading change (Kavanagh and Ashkanasy 1996). Weber and Drori (2008) suggest further that most research about human factors in mergers has been prescriptive and atheoretical; and note the role of the individual, especially in cases affected by cultural difference, has rarely been investigated empirically.

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