Barriers to change and integration in foreign M and As within East Germany : a qualitative study
Many domestic take-overs and mergers are not successful, over half fail. Crossborder M&As are even more fraught with problems due to differing national cultures exasperating different organisational cultures. International M&As in rapidly transforming East Germany offer attractive possibilities for research as change in the firm, and resistance to it, takes place against a backdrop of external, revolutionary societal change as well as internal, national and organisational clashes. The research followed a grounded theory, qualitative methods approach embedded in the overarching strategic management theoretical framework of the Resource Based View of the Firm. Through a series of case interviews with East German managers and employees in six foreign acquired M&As split off from old combines, together with employees released after take-over, the type of acculturation and perceived level of integration was examined. A model was developed to measure post acquisition integration problems signalled by acculturative stress. By highlighting using two of the case studies as a contrast, acculturative stress was seen to make a significant contribution to causes of failure. On the other hand, further development of the model showed successful integration as having implications as a stepping stone to two-way learning and onwards to long term success. The research's claims to contribution can be synthesisedd own to three areas. Firstly, the importance of the group in East Germany has been overlooked and its continued existence in the face of pressures for more individualisation has important implications for motivation, incentives, change and learning. Secondly, the choice of top managers and their relationship to the firm (co-ownership or not) is crucial in reducing acculturative stress and achieving integration and two-way learning. Finally, the acquired human resources, due to their knowledge, knowledge potential through unlearning, shared experiencesa nd languagea re a potential route to competitive advantage. The areas of contribution form the basis for speculation and future research.