Making sense of management control in a merger: A case study on the use of an employee satisfaction tool in post-merger integration

Detta är en D-uppsats från Handelshögskolan i Stockholm/Institutionen för redovisning och finansiering

Sammanfattning: This thesis examines organisational members' sensemaking of a management control system (MCS) aimed at facilitating employee alignment in post-merger integration (PMI) and how this affects the role of the MCS. By drawing upon sensemaking theory and insights from a single case study of an ongoing merger, we show how incongruent frames on the expected use of a MCS can lead to counterproductive consequences in PMI. More specifically, we argue that divergent interpretations of an employee satisfaction tool caused management to use it in a different manner than what the employees expected. This increased rather than mitigated the risk of employee dissatisfaction prevailing in the merger. While previous management accounting literature has focused on how MCS can provide a common language to support PMI, our findings suggest that frame incongruence can hinder the MCS from fulfilling this role. Furthermore, we provide insights on factors influencing sensemaking of a MCS in PMI. In this case, the frames were influenced by characteristics of the pre-merger cultures and emotions evoked by post-merger changes. Lastly, we contribute to literature on non-traditional results controls by showing how control systems focused on employee satisfaction can be subject to divergent sensemaking, which risks leading to unintended effects of such controls.

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