A study of cultural differences in cross-border Mergers & Acquisitions : Case studies review in Swedish companies
Among the challenges that companies may face during the post M&A phase, cultural integration can be seen as one of the trickiest tasks. Cultural differences which are inevitable in any deal are always there. The link between how people from autonomous groups live together and the deal result is an interesting topic that needs to be investigated. Since we have an interest in developing the understanding of cultural differences during integration process in cross-border M&As, the research question “How do cultural differences arise in cross-border M&As during the integration process and do they impact the deal result?” is formulated.
This thesis presents a model that demonstrates elements of cultural differences from three levels, national, organizational and personal. In this model, these levels can be seen as interrelated to each other in which the inner layer is impacted by the outer one. As a result, personal culture, as the most inner layer, is doubly impacted by the other two, national and organizational levels. Given that the scope of our thesis is for cross-border M&As, after investigating these three levels of culture, we found that organizational and personal differences are real in any M&As no matter domestic or cross-border deals. Differences at national level, on the contrary, are the first element that should be mentioned as a root of cultural differences in companies from different nationalities.
From the understanding about emergence of cultural differences, we further study to see if they leave any effect on the deal result. In the empirical section, from the cultural gap analysis of each case, it was surprising to see that the relationship between cultural gap and deal result of two of four cases, are opposite to Rankine´s theory. At this point, we can see that M&As between companies similar in culture is not always successful or that failure between organizations having significantly different cultures is not always true, and then the empirical study on the acculturation dynamics made the further explanation that cultural differences are not the critical factor leading to success or failure, but rather how participants in integration perceive and respond to the cultural differences will impact the deal result.
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