What happens when large companies merge

Management must inform employees about takeovers and mergers

Every company has its own history and culture. When two companies merge, a fight usually breaks out over the new mission statement. If this process is not controlled, this usually wins the acquiring company, even if a “wedding among equals” is officially announced. The acquirer thus dominates the acquired company. This increases the resentment of the transferred employees, which leads to unnecessary resistance. For this reason, an analysis should be carried out in the case of mergers that takes into account elements in the cultures of the two companies and promotes target achievement.

When trying to change a corporate culture, top management plays a key role. It has to exemplify the new culture. Any attempt to bring about cultural changes solely through middle management fails. In addition, the length of the process of cultural change should not be underestimated. They usually last at least three years.

Every larger company invests time and money in building a corporate identity, i.e. a company culture. Employees should be proud of their company and identify with it. In the event of a merger - especially in the case of the company being taken over - this identity is lost. Many employees, especially those who identify strongly with their company, find it difficult to say goodbye to the previous company with all its customs and rituals. You mourn. In private life we ​​naturally assume that saying goodbye takes time. In the corporate context, however, there is usually no understanding of this. Temporarily lethargic, sometimes even aggressive behavior is often not interpreted and respected as an expression of grief. But people can usually only enter into a new bond when the old one is "digested". This also applies when planning integration processes.

In the case of mergers, the employees are often in a state of limbo until the transition to the new structure: What happens next? What will happen to me Will my job still exist afterwards? In this situation, they usually show the following behavioral patterns:

Hibernation: They no longer identify with the company, only work according to regulations or only follow the instructions of their superiors to a limited extent
Operational hectic: They lapse into actionism and countless projects are generated. Employees want to be involved everywhere in order to appear in a good light. It is not the quality of the work that counts, but the "show".

It is therefore important that company managers offer the managers in their organization and their employees orientation during the transition period so that they know how to behave. Otherwise there is a risk that a lot of energy will be wasted ineffectively.