Author(s), Title and Publication

Breiner, T., & Minei, E. M. (2017). Corporate acculturation neglect in cross-border acquisitions: the case of Denmark and the United States, The Journal of International Communication, 23(1), 53-74, DOI: 10.1080/13216597.2016.1236030

Summary

Worldwide enterprise continues to expand as technologies and developments invite organizations to new markets around the globe. An increasingly common practice, cross-national mergers and acquisitions efficiently expand global business, and at the same time, call for effective and inclusive leadership communication. Respecting existing cultural norms throughout merger and acquisition, as opposed to overriding or ignoring, is a practice to which many successful, merged organizations attribute their longevity. Highlighting the importance of proactive and distinct attention to cultural differences as part of an overall communication strategy, research suggests mergers and acquisitions with strong cultural disparity enjoy greater long-term success than those with only minimal differences.

Using data obtained through in-depth interviews with 20 employees in organizations that had been involved in a Danish/American cross-border acquisition during the period 2001–2015, the study found three prominent threats to acculturation between legacy and acquired companies during and after transition: (1) Awareness of hierarchical communication differences, (2) communication as misdirection, and (3) reflections on consequences contributed to the breakdown as opposed to the blending of cultures. The authors present cultural awareness neglect (CAN) as the end result of legacy and acquisition companies who fail to embrace integrated intercultural communication strategies.

Implications for Practice

Organizations should (1) create a task-force comprised of members of both cultures to ensure that as new business practices emerge, both cultures are incorporated, and (2) create culture-specific communication plans before the announcement of the acquisition, to address culture-specific concerns, and minimize uncertainty and mistrust, (3) ensure that the new co-workers and managers are visible to reinforce unification, and 4) create opportunities for anonymous, multi-level feedback that represents the feelings of the organization throughout transition.

Location of Article

This article is available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13216597.2016.1236030

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Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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