Discussion and Conclusions

Although the literature review highlights that M&As constitute a preferred strategy for growth, it is empirically documented that there are many reasons that contribute to the lack of M&A success. It is often quite challenging to integrate employees who often experience uncertainty, fear, high levels of stress and frustration. These strong negative emotions are experienced in all the phases of the transition process, prior, during and after. This is expected since M&As always cause an avalanche of internal organisational changes that need to be effectively managed. Ineffective employee integration is more than likely to have an impact on the long-term success of the newly formed organisation. Thus, retaining and integrating employees in M&As can be essential to success. Employee retention is a prerequisite for achieving the projected benefits from the newly combined organisations, in which employee competencies from both the acquiring and acquired firms are important.

How can the merged organisation successfully retain its employees and integrate them into a “new” strong team? The literature reviewed revealed that senior level managers should play a leading role in reducing the high levels of uncertainty and any other negative behaviours and attitudes felt by employees during the integration process. Executives need to have a strong leadership attitude and a clear vision in order to convey information to the employees in such a way that garners trust, appears sincere, and is capable of empowering, influencing and motivating the responses of employees that will be most beneficial for the organisation. Senior level and middle level managers should adopt a leadership style that allows them to empathise and associate with their employees, understand their concerns and show empathy, subsequently reducing the resistance to the merger or acquisition. There is also a need to ensure that there is a clear organisational identity, since during a merger or acquisition the corporate identity of the two separate corporations is lost, and a new one needs to be created for the newly formed organisation. Often the acquired employees feel that the acquiring firm threatens their organisational identity, which is of course true and, therefore, there is a need to achieve a strong clear vision for the newly combined organisation. The vision and organisational goals need to be communicated to the workforce who then has to embrace them. Providing a clear vision can create shared meanings, common identity, and provide direction for the organisation. Achieving a vision requires the efforts and commitment of the entire organisation and towards this end, human resource managers need to play a leading role. To improve the possibilities for a successful merger or acquisition, human resource managers need to get involved as early as possible in the process. The human resource department can positively contribute to the success of the merger or acquisition by managing the implementation of tools that can significantly contribute towards the improvement of employee morale, the quality of the work environment and employee retention. These tools based on the literature reviewed, include employee empowerment, autonomy, involvement, personal development, training, career progression, internal communication and management support. The effective implementation of these tools has the potential to enhance trust and organisational commitment among employees and motivate them to embrace the goals and vision of the newly combined organisation. An evaluation of the skills and competences of all organisational members is necessary in order to retain those that possess the desired characteristics needed to maximise the M&A success.

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