Managing and supporting employees through cultural change in mergers

Mergers represent an enormous operational and cultural change for employees. Culture is too often neglected. Don’t fall into this trap.

December 2019

by Becky Kaetzler, Kameron Kordestani, Emily O’Loughlin, and Mieke Van Oostende

Mergers create vast organizational anxiety about the future: in most cases, the operating model and culture will change dramatically for one or both merging companies. These changes go far beyond a new name and senior leadership; they challenge the core of an organization’s identity, purpose, and day-to-day work. Even small tactical changes, like new expense policies or cafeteria options, can rattle employees. Anticipating and addressing these “organizational emotions” can set the foundation for seamless, effective integration. Failing to anticipate and address them can lead to poor business performance, a loss of critical talent, and the leakage of synergies.


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