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Co-evolutionary integration: the co-creation of a new organizational form following a merger and acquisition

By Eve Mitleton-Kelly


Despite an apparently thorough ‘due diligence’ process, many mergers and acquisitions (M&A) still fail to meet pre-merger objectives. One of the main contributing factors is insufficient emphasis on post-merger relationships, and the development of an emergent culture to support the new organizational form. The paper will use two examples of M&A to illustrate a successful and a dysfunctional application of post-merger integration, seen from a complexity theory perspective. An ideal post-merger integration, according to complexity, would resemble the creation of a child. It has some characteristics inherited from both parents but it has its own unique personality and identity. Yet in most cases the more dominant partner tries to impose its own culture, ways of working and procedures. It expects the dependent partner to adapt to these conditions, instead of facilitating reciprocal learning and coevolution between the partners. This paper will explore the differences in attitude of the two companies and identify some of the key contributing factors to successful coevolutionary integration from a complexity theory perspective. It will do so by outlining the relevant characteristics to M&A, of organizations as complex coevolving systems. In one case it will illustrate how the innovation process regarding new product development was constrained and how this affected relationships with customers. It will also show how restrained communication and the restriction of knowledge contributed towards dysfunctional behavior. It will finally propose that coevolutionary integration may be facilitated through the co-creation of an enabling infrastructure based on social, cultural and technical conditions

Topics: BF Psychology
Publisher: Emergent Publications
Year: 2006
OAI identifier:
Provided by: LSE Research Online
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