Sociocultural Integration in Mergers and Acquisitions

It may be necessary to start with the explanation of the fact that scholars have to address the future of sociocultural integration more often because human resources play a rather important role in the merging and acquisition processes. The author of the current article analysis acknowledged the need to isolate the main emerging topics inherent in the article and identify the patterns that may be interesting to the specialists in the area of mergers and acquisition (Bauer & Matzler, 2014; DePamphilis, 2014). In particular, one of the ideas of this article analysis is to narrow down the trends and point out the areas that are commonly perceived incorrectly or inappropriately. Based on this concept, the author of this article analysis decided to point out a number of important unresolved questions that can be found emerging in the most underresearched areas of mergers and acquisitions. In order to do that, they had to investigate the concept of sociocultural integration in mergers and acquisitions and the key issues that were associated with that multifaceted process. In order to perform an extensive critical analysis of the article, the investigator addressed external sources and synthesized the findings so as to be able to align Stahl et al.’s (2013) article with several other conflicting perspectives. In the future, this critical analysis is expected to pave the way for other research projects focused on the sociocultural context of mergers and acquisitions. A preliminary analysis of the data contained in the article showed that there were no exhaustive pieces of evidence that could contribute to the research on the trends in postmerger integration. Instead, Stahl et al. (2013) grounded their research on a number of alleged gaps in research that had to be addressed. The author of this article review was interested in finding out if the sociocultural factor was as dominant throughout the postmerger phase as it was described in previous research articles on the subject.

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Initially, the investigator associated the preliminary findings regarding the cultural fit with organizational outcomes (Bauer & Matzler, 2014; DePamphilis, 2014; Schweizer & Patzelt, 2012; Stahl et al., 2013; Weber & Tarba, 2012; Weber & Tarba, 2013). Another trend that could have a serious impact on those outcomes was the postmerger integration approach. On the basis of these preliminary findings, it was hypothesized that human resource management practices, communication, and a proper choice of leadership styles were the issues that could be addressed successfully within the framework of the review. Existing evidence from other articles also supported the idea that all these factors contributed to the speed of sociocultural integration but the future of Stahl et al.’s (2013) article did not look bright (Rottig, 2013; Vazirani, 2012). This led the investigator to the idea that the ultimate findings from the reviewed article could be too isolated because of the lack of evidence regarding the merger process. Even though the majority of the factors mentioned above already were addressed by quite a few researchers, the author of the article was keen on investigating the relationships between the elements of merger outcomes that were directly related to pre- and postmerger events. The lack of evidence was identified right away, but it was necessary to provide a series of comments that would support the investigator’s claims. The article analysis performed within the framework of this entry can extend the knowledge base on mergers and acquisitions in terms of the core variables that impact the quality of organizational output. The purpose of this essay is to describe the process of deconstructing the article “Sociocultural integration in mergers and acquisitions: Unresolved paradoxes and directions for future research” by Stahl et al. (2013), which is directly associated with the topic of a merger and acquisition market and the concept of integration of mergers and acquisitions into the sociocultural framework. Even though Stahl et al. (2013) develop a rather extensive discussion on the topic of sociocultural effects of mergers and acquisitions, they leave out a number of problems that are of the essence within the existing business environment and the majority of their claims cannot be validated due to the lack of evidence and vague verdicts that are based on the sole assumptions of the authors of the article.

Appropriateness and Utility of the Deconstruction Process to Find Solutions to Problems

The process of deconstruction can be rather effective within the framework of the current article analysis because it can help the researcher to identify the premises of poor performance and the key financial and premeditated variables that contribute to the latter. The researcher believes that in the future, the concept of deconstruction in the area of M&As will elicit a bigger role of culture in the process of integration (Bauer & Matzler, 2014; DePamphilis, 2014; Weber & Tarba, 2013). Another idea that contributes to the deconstruction process is the necessity to validate the hypothesis of cultural distance because the existing communication practices applied by the majority of organizations are not in line with the respective cultures of all the actors involved in the dealings. The problem that has to be resolved is the low level of M&A performance among those organizations where the cultural distance is treated at the nationwide level. By doing this, the researcher will ensure that the critical analysis of Stahl et al.’s (2013) article will shed some light on the relationship between postacquisition output and the process of integration. Therefore, this article deconstruction can be perceived as an ability to learn more about behavioral responses that can be elicited throughout the process of reviewing the article. Even though the majority of cultural differences are accepted, the deconstruction of the article may disclose the extent of the influence of sociocultural context on M&A outcomes. In the case of a failure, the researcher will be able to associate the key factors inherent in M&A with the poor cultural fit and the inability to become culturally compatible with the existing requirements. At an organizational level, the deconstruction of the article can extend the knowledge base on corporate culture and provide the researcher with more information on the topic of values that are inextricably linked with acquisitions and organizational change. For instance, the researcher will be able to identify if the performance of cross-border M&As critically differed from their local counterparts. To conclude, the appropriateness of the deconstruction of Stahl et al.’s (2013) article can be validated by the evidence regarding the creation of the base for acculturation and value creation (DePamphilis, 2014; Weber & Tarba, 2012; Weber & Tarba, 2013). The researcher also claims that the application of the principle of deconstruction will contribute to the concept of knowledge transfer as the latter is also associated with positive outcomes throughout the stage of postacquisition.

The Framework’s Components in a Constructed System and Its Effectiveness to Solve the Problem

The Article’s Framework as a Constructed System

The problem is that the key contributors to the success of mergers and acquisitions (M&As) are not understood on a decent level and there are several reasons that limit that understanding (Bauer & Matzler, 2014; DePamphilis, 2014; Erel, Liao, & Weisbach, 2012; Schweizer & Patzelt, 2012; Stahl et al., 2013; Vaara, Sarala, Stahl, & Bjorkman, 2012; Weber & Tarba, 2012; Weber & Tarba, 2013). All of the attempts to explain the contextual nature of M&As and outline the aspects of its successes and failures are keen on identifying a number of typical financial and strategic factors that have to be shifted into the background instead while paving the way for the research on sociocultural aspects of M&As and the notion of proper integration of human resources into either acquired or merging organizations (Almor, Tarba, & Margalit, 2014; Brown, Werling, Walker, Burgdorfer, & Shields, 2012; Lebedev, Peng, Xie, & Stevens, 2015). As a constructed system, the framework of the article can be characterized as a possibility to enhance the existing measures of experience and organizational output. It is important to remember that there are numerous types of learning that can critically impact the M&As processes. This led the author of the deconstruction to the idea that the framework of the current article could be based on the notion of prior experience. It is also vital to mention that Stahl et al. (2013) mentioned that the organizational level was subject to the individual influence of employees. Therefore, organizational learning experience can be seen as a constructed system because it has to be checked recurrently (Rottig, 2013; Vazirani, 2012). Sociocultural dynamics are central to the current article deconstruction because individual employee input is underresearched and its impact on M&As is unclear. As an example, the investigator can use the concept of learning through experience when assessing the role of integration managers. If these ideas are validated, the researcher will be able to confirm that the constructed system of Stahl et al.’s (2013) article is based on the accumulation of experience and there is a need to invest such resources as time and money in order to institutionalize employees’ past experiences and make the best use of the latter when building the core competencies for the future research on M&A. The use of the method of article deconstruction will help the researcher to obtain empirical results and evaluate the levels of impact of knowledge on performance. Most probably, the use of deconstruction may elicit the application of a contingency view that will limit the number of generalizations and help researchers to reevaluate the role of experience in sociocultural integration (Rottig, 2013; Vazirani, 2012). Partially, this is one of the main reasons why learning cannon be associated with experience, and the author of the article deconstruction is willing to find the evidence supporting this point of view.

Effectiveness of the Framework to Facilitate the Problem Solution

Deconstruction of the Framework and Its Weaknesses

Deconstruction of the Framework

The framework of the current article can be deconstructed on the basis of performance paradox that consists in the following – at least half of the deals that are transacted can be characterized as underperforming. This kind of approach does not provide us with a possibility to conduct empirical research on the topic of M&As organizational performance. Nonetheless, the main issue of Stahl et al.’s (2013) article stands in the fact that it does not enumerate the reasons of poor performance and does not provide the readers with a set of empirical evidence regarding the postacquisition performance. Dwelling on the topic further, the authors of the article do not pay special attention to the process of measuring performance or at least choosing a number of appropriate dynamic measures. Knowing that the majority of ways to measure acquisition performance revolve around economic and financial perspectives, it may be safe to say that the framework of Stahl et al.’s (2013) article is weak. The framework can also be deconstructed on the basis of the idea that there is no point in objective performance metrics (for instance, accounting data) when there are subjective indicators (such as trust building, knowledge transfer, and synergy realization) that affect organizational performance much more positively (Bauer & Matzler, 2014; DePamphilis, 2014; Weber & Tarba, 2013). The evidence from the article can allow the researcher to divide the key measures into five types, but it does not validate the sociocultural integration of M&A. There may be a need to reconstruct the article and include several common measures that would strengthen the existing framework by means of taking into account both short- and long-term financial performance variables. The majority of models that were used before Stahl et al. (2013) did not specify those variables and grounded postacquisition performance on a number of poor measures and metrics. Arguably, this lack of theoretical framework can signify the need to deconstruct this particular article and reevaluate both the framework of M&A performance and M&A research methods. The outcomes of M&A and its holistic view have to be revised in order to be in line with a rational sociocultural framework. Another possibility of deconstructing the article revolves around the idea that financial performance relies on complementary resources. This leads to a situation where both the organizational and integrational levels have to be involved in the discussion on M&A performance. There are two key dimensions that can help the author of this critical analysis to deconstruct Stahl et al.’s (2013) article. First, time horizon should be taken into consideration. Second, the level of analysis should be thoroughly reevaluated. On a bigger scale, the researcher expects to deconstruct the article with the purpose of distinguishing the types of performance that have to be measured. It is believed that even the level of analysis is required for the deconstruction to run successfully. Here, it is critical to mention that Stahl et al. (2013) did not consider all the levels indicated above. This provides the author of the deconstruction with a possibility to understand the value-generating processes that take place throughout the lifespan of an acquisition. Subsequently, one of the opportunities to deconstruct the article appears at the transaction level (here, only short-term performance can be evaluated). On the other hand, there is a high chance of acquiring long-term perspectives on the process of organizational value creation. Knowing that the majority of M&As create value by means of taking the acquisition scale into consideration, there may be a need to deconstruct the article so as to see how Stahl et al. (2013) measure performance at the organizational level. Even though the impact of a failed M&A can be mitigated, experience and performance will not be conveyed by means of organizational learning or any other method. It is necessary to deconstruct the article because there may be a possibility to gain a better understanding of sociocultural implication of M&As and multiple objective and subjective measures that can be utilized to assess organizational performance.

Weaknesses of the Framework

The major weakness of the framework used in the article by Stahl et al. (2013) is the absence of discussion regarding the trends in the modern integration research that is based on post-merger events (Rottig, 2013; Vazirani, 2012). This idea can also be supported by the fact that the level of cultural tolerance of the modern M&As is rather low, but it is expected to grow in the future. The authors of the study were not able to address the question of gaps in literature on M&As as well and that leads to a situation where a number of unresolved questions and blatant breaks appear in terms of the post-merger integration process (Rossi, Tarba, & Raviv, 2013; Weber & Tarba, 2012; Weber & Tarba, 2013; Zhang et al., 2015). This weakness is supported by the fact that M&As are rather far-reaching in terms of their social and strategic influence on all of the stakeholders. The creation of this kind of challenges can be upsetting within any given framework of practice. Over the last ten years, research on the topic of M&A was seriously expanded and enlightened from a number of disciplinary perspectives. The latter included sociology, psychology, finance, economics, and organizational science (Rossi et al., 2013; Rottig, 2013; Vazirani, 2012; Weber & Tarba, 2012; Weber & Tarba, 2013; Zhang et al., 2015). There are still quite a few disciplines that yet have to be addressed more systematically. The weakness here consists in the fact that there power differences, speed, and trust. Their roles have to be established, and their impact on M&A processes still has to be investigated. A detailed overview of each of the categories is expected to spark the interest in other investigators that will address the underresearched areas. The process of transpiring power inequalities is sporadic, and this hints at the idea that there are some differences that may change the context of Stahl et al.’s (2013) research over time. At the same time, there is the issue of speed. This weakness is validated by the idea that the concept of speed is not described efficiently and the article lacks depth in terms of outlining and explaining those concepts to the reader. When approaching the article from a number of other perspectives, there is a need to take into consideration the level of analysis and the amount of time allocated for the completion of the task. Such approach does not provide the government with the possibility to come up with specific time periods that will frame the future M&A actions. On a bigger scale, one the main weaknesses of Stahl et al.’s (2013) article can be defined as the inability of HR managers to implement practices that would vary M&A outcomes. The latter critically depends on the concept of discretion because not always organizations are able to choose the speed of implementing change and to which extent sociocultural extents are going to influence their organizational practices. Stahl et al. (2013) do not provide enough empirical evidence regarding the role of speed in M&A sociocultural integration, but it is clear that it is not explored in full yet. Consequently, the phase of postacquisition integration should not be left out in favor of M&A processes. This weakness is of critical importance to the researcher because it impacts the sociocultural layout of any organization in a rather sophisticated way on account of numerous paces of each sociocultural layer. This leads the researcher to the idea that one of the weaknesses of Stahl et al.’s (2013) article is that it does not provide the reader with enough information regarding performance outcomes that are achieved by means of sophisticated treatments developed on the basis of change. Another weakness of the article written by Stahl et al. (2013) is the problem of insufficient description of the impact of trust on organizational relations at different administrative levels. The authors do not pay enough attention to the concept of interorganizational trust and disregard the process of conceptualizing each particular impact of sociocultural phenomena. Stahl et al. (2013) failed to discuss the influence of good interpersonal relations on M&A outcomes because they concentrated on the generalization of M&As (Rossi et al., 2013; Weber & Tarba, 2012; Weber & Tarba, 2013; Zhang et al., 2015). According to the literature review conducted by the authors of the deconstructed article, there are critical differences between the relationships between lower- and higher-level employees. This partially limited the researchers’ ability to evaluate the impact of trust because they overlooked the necessity of including a robust calculative component.

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The Role of the Framework and Weakness in Amplifying the Problem

A stricter approach to the research process is recommended – in the future, such sociocultural framework will allow Stahl et al. (2013) to dwell more on the underresearched areas and answer the research questions posed within the framework of the reviewed article. This led the author of the article review to two key conclusions. First, there is a severe need to diversify institutional approaches to M&A research because existing methodologies lack clarity and typically do not take the information from other literature on the topic into consideration. The role of this framework is in helping researchers to start thinking out of the box because M&A performance cannot be researched and discussed from a single perspective. More importantly, the future literature on the subject has to contain more practical examples. Second, the current framework is expected to trigger interdisciplinary collaboration as the latter is characteristic of the environments that foster an integrative approach to M&A. The researcher recommends collecting more data from other scientific fields so as to build trust dynamics and be more open-minded when compared to previous research in the area. On a bigger scale, this framework is expected to help researchers to gain more insight into the concept of change management. Additionally, even knowledge transfer can be impacted by the development of efficient organizational policies. These concepts have to be implemented accurately so as not to amplify the problem.

Reflection on the Deconstruction Process

Expanding on the previous subsection of the current article analysis, the author is willing to dwell on the process of deconstruction of Stahl et al.’s (2013) entry. First, it is safe to say that the deconstruction provided the author with a number of relevant ideas regarding the empathic process of learning M&A. Generally, the majority of complaints in the area cannot explain the reasons for either success or failure of alliances that form throughout the process of M&A. The author successfully addressed the initial conditions that were present in the literature on the subject and learned more about the dynamics of postmerger processes. In the future, this may significantly facilitate the process of evaluating successes and failures of M&As (Bauer & Matzler, 2014; DePamphilis, 2014; Weber & Tarba, 2013). Another advantage of the current deconstruction process consists in the fact that the latter provides evidence backing the hypothesis that the structure-process separation does not make it to the list of positive factors. Instead, the author of this article review found that the majority of research styles and methodologies supported the separation and concluded that potentially profitable combinations of the factors presented above could be found more often if we were interested in removing the barriers in research. The current article analysis allowed the author to deconstruct the dynamics of sociocultural implications of M&A. At the moment, there are numerous unsolved questions in the area that yet have to be addressed, but the deconstruction of Stahl et al.’s (2013) entry allowed the researcher to disclose the importance of a number of concepts that are of critical importance to M&A. The dynamic nature of specific methodologies and varying roles of the factors mentioned above throughout the acquisition process may be perceived as the main antagonists of the current article review (Rossi et al., 2013; Weber & Tarba, 2013; Zhang et al., 2015). Unambiguously, it exposed the author of the article analysis to the question regarding the ability to acknowledge the complexity of M&A practices and come up with a series of revised methodologies and research designs. The deconstruction process triggered the advent of several ideas that could be seen in the future Stahl et al.’s (2013) works. On a bigger scale, the author exposed the opportunity to develop an alternative epistemological paradigm that could be utilized to extend the sociocultural opportunities of M&As.

Conclusion

The current article review addressed several unsolved questions that relate to the most underresearched section of M&As. The evidence that was collected led the author of this deconstruction to the idea that we should develop new research methodologies and start thinking out of the box. It is not reasonable to replicate the framework anymore. The findings of this deconstruction suggest that there are numerous new designs and concepts that can be associated with new variables and methodologies so as to construct innovational epistemological perspectives later. In terms of M&A performance, such approach could be a critical contribution to the mobilization of all available resources and the creation of a better framework for understanding the logical interpretations of previous authors. Regardless of Stahl et al.’s (2013) findings, there is a need to develop a broader system of perspectives so as to unlock the possibility to conduct interdisciplinary research that is going to be based on collaboration. The evidence from Stahl et al.’s article was supported by several other authors who believed that a multidisciplinary approach is the only way to conduct holistic research on the topic of M&A performance. Nonetheless, from the results of the deconstruction, it is evident that the social structure of M&A community has to be investigated further as it may contain the description of difficulties that may serve as the possibility to developed better M&A theories. There is a lack of cooperation between the representatives of different disciplines. This can seriously limit the potential of interdisciplinary M&A research because such journal entries are recurrently rejected by high-rated journals. Extending on the topic, the researcher proposes to study cooperation so as to understand the possibilities of utilizing social network analysis and the dynamics of cooperation in M&A researchers. This will significantly impact the level of interdisciplinary involvedness in the research process. The deconstruction of Stahl et al.’s (2013) article disclosed a rather low level of networking among M&A students. Additionally, multidisciplinary research was claimed to be one of the most dominant assets in research. Knowing that M&As are multifaceted, the fact that interdisciplinary sociocultural integration is more than surprising. The current article deconstruction allowed the author of review to identify that there were numerous unresolved paradoxes that had to be addressed and resolved. We should develop more understanding of the M&A phenomena so as to be able to recognize the importance of all available assets and appropriate methodological approaches. In the future, the author of this critical deconstruction expects Stahl et al. (2013) to gain more insight into the area of practice and extricate the majority of inquiries that generated confusion among other specialists in the area for the last two decades.

References

Almor, T., Tarba, S. Y., & Margalit, A. (2014). Maturing, technology-based, born-global companies: Surviving through mergers and acquisitions. Management International Review, 54(4), 421-444.

Bauer, F., & Matzler, K. (2014). Antecedents of M&A success: The role of strategic complementarity, cultural fit, and degree and speed of integration. Strategic Management Journal, 35(2), 269-291.

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Brown, T. C., Werling, K. A., Walker, B. C., Burgdorfer, R. J., & Shields, J. J. (2012). Current trends in hospital mergers and acquisitions: Healthcare reform will result in more consolidation and integration among hospitals, reversing a recent trend in which hospitals tended to stay away from such transactions. Healthcare Financial Management, 66(3), 114-120.

DePamphilis, D. (2014). Mergers, acquisitions, and other restructuring activities: An integrated approach to process, tools, cases, and solutions (7th ed.). San Diego, CA: Elsevier Science.

Erel, I., Liao, R. C., & Weisbach, M. S. (2012). Determinants of cross‐border mergers and acquisitions. The Journal of Finance, 67(3), 1045-1082.

Lebedev, S., Peng, M. W., Xie, E., & Stevens, C. E. (2015). Mergers and acquisitions in and out of emerging economies. Journal of World Business, 50(4), 651-662.

Rossi, M., Tarba, S., & Raviv, A. (2013). Mergers and acquisitions in the hightech industry: A literature review. International Journal of Organizational Analysis, 21(1), 66-82.

Rottig, D. (2013). A marriage metaphor model for sociocultural integration in international mergers and acquisitions. Thunderbird International Business Review, 55(4), 439-451.

Schweizer, L., & Patzelt, H. (2012). Employee commitment in the post-acquisition integration process: The effect of integration speed and leadership. Scandinavian Journal of Management, 28(4), 298-310.

Stahl, G. K., Angwin, D. N., Very, P., Gomes, E., Weber, Y., Tarba, S. Y.,… & Durand, M. (2013). Sociocultural integration in mergers and acquisitions: Unresolved paradoxes and directions for future research. Thunderbird International Business Review, 55(4), 333-356.

Vaara, E., Sarala, R., Stahl, G. K., & Bjorkman, I. (2012). The impact of organizational and national cultural differences on social conflict and knowledge transfer in international acquisitions. Journal of Management Studies, 49(1), 1-27.

Vazirani, N. (2012). Mergers and acquisitions performance evaluation – a literature review. SIES Journal of Management, 8(2), 37-42.

Weber, Y., & Tarba, S. (2012). Mergers and acquisitions process: The use of corporate culture analysis. Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal, 19(3), 288-303.

Weber, Y., & Tarba, S. Y. (2013). Sociocultural integration in mergers and acquisitions – new perspectives. Thunderbird International Business Review, 55(4), 327-331.

Zhang, J., Ahammad, M. F., Tarba, S., Cooper, C. L., Glaister, K. W., & Wang, J. (2015). The effect of leadership style on talent retention during merger and acquisition integration: Evidence from China. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 26(7), 1021-1050.

Sociocultural Integration in Mergers and Acquisitions
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