The Art of Acquisition Integration

Contradiction and Sensemaking in Acquisition Integrationby Samia Chreim and Marzieh Tafagood, University of Ottawa, was published in Online First in  Journal of Applied Behavioral Science.

Professor Chreim provided some background information on the article.

Who is the target audience for this article?

Scholars interested in acquisition integration, newcomer experiences, and sensemaking during change in organizations and managers involved in acquisitions and acquisition integration.

What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

Acquisitions are some of the most complex changes that organizations can undertake. Acquisitions create a lot of uncertainty for organizational members – especially those at the acquired end. Although acquisition integration has been studied from the perspective of organizational members before, research continues to unearth aspects of the experience that contribute further to our understanding of this complex change.

Were there findings that were surprising to you?

Some findings were surprising – notably that

1) organizations that engage in serial acquisitions will perpetually contain sites of contradiction

2) codification of knowledge gained from previous acquisition experiences does not necessarily enhance subsequent acquisition integration.

Other findings were less surprising, but are important, though not given sufficient attention in the literature. These findings pertain to relationships between acquired and acquiring managers, and how they affect the sensemaking and experiences of acquired managers.

How do you this study influencing future research and/or practice?

This study can influence future research on acquisition integration by directing attention to

1) how managerial roles are experienced during acquisitions

2) how serial acquisitions affect organizations and individuals.

It can also influence research on newcomers, by directing attention to acquired managers – a category of newcomers that has been mainly ignored in the literature.

How does this study fit into your body of work/line of research?

I have done research on different aspects/types of change, and this study builds on and extends my past work.

What, if anything, would you do differently if you could go back and do this study again?

I would try to negotiate a longitudinal access with the organization in order to follow how acquired managers’ experiences evolve with time.

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