Change Management Training Change Culture

The Challenge Of Culture Change In M&A

The biggest obstacle to successful merger integration is conflicting corporate cultures. The disturbing statistics of merger/acquisition failures document the problem: Between one-half and three-fourths of the deals that are done never measure up to original expectations.

The companies find they can’t live together. Sometimes they stay together, only to fight and feel miserable because their organizational values and lifestyles are incompatible.


Just what is “corporate culture”? Why is it so important? How does it exert such a profound influence over an organization and the way employees think, feel, and act?

If you want the cleanest, most straightforward definition of corporate culture, think of it as corporate personality.

Usually, when we think of personality, we think of the individual person. That’s a good place to start. Think for a minute or two. And identify three things that, in your opinion, represent very fundamental, core aspects of your personality. You might conclude, “I’m a true extrovert,” or “I’m a wallflower.” Perhaps you see yourself as highly aggressive, or as having a very understated personality. Maybe integrity is a hallmark of your makeup as a human being, or possibly you take pride in your genuine empathy for others.

Just off the top of your head, what comes to mind as two or three traits, characteristics, or attributes that you think are keys to your personality makeup?

Then, ask yourself how easy it would be for you to take one, two, or all of those traits and turn them 90 or 180 degrees. Could you remake yourself in terms of those characteristics? How easy would it be to overhaul your personality so that core dimensions such as these no longer describe or fit you?

There is a basic assumption about people that can be made here: People don’t change.

The conventional wisdom is that the individual personality has crystallized to an amazing degree by the time a child is school age. Agreed, a child continues to develop and fine-tune the personality...