The merger of the head offices of two public service organizations in Sweden was used to examine differences in the meanings that employees attach to the organizations involved and their expectations of the new merged organization, nine months prior to the merger. A two-stage methodology was used, combining the repertory grid method with a survey questionnaire based on the elicited constructs. Predictions from a social constructivist perspective on culture and social identity theory were largely confirmed. The results showed that both groups expected one of them to be dominant after the merger. Members of this organization expected to change very little, while employees in the non-dominant group felt themselves to be threatened by the prospect of merger and this led them to emphasize their own distinctiveness. The findings suggest that the success of the integration process after a merger is critically dependent on how employees of merger partners perceive the culture of the organizations involved and the expectations they have of the new organization. The study has practical implications for how to manage the merger integration process.
- Organizational culture
- Repertory grid method