The effects of legacy organization culture on post-merger integration

Nonlinear Dynamics Psychol Life Sci. 2013 Jan;17(1):107-32.


We explore the relationship between the characteristics of pre-existing organization cultures and post-merger integration dynamics; this study involves examining data produced by computer simulation. Two characteristics of organization culture, its characteristic complexity and its propensity for members' to share information, are controlled in computational experiments. To characterize post-merger integration dynamics, we measure the transfer of information with respect to two types: (a) that which is necessary in performing work tasks, and (b) that which underlies the features of a group's culture. The extent to which this information is common in a group is indicative of task performance and the cultural cohesiveness of its members; leading to the level of performance for the group. We consider cultural knowledge as it pertains to both that of the entire organization and at the work-team level; often times, these can be dissimilar. We find that cultural complexity and exchange motivation vary in their influence on the diffusion of task and cultural knowledge: the more complex the culture, the longer for post-merger integration to complete, while simultaneously task performance suffers. However, the inclination for an organization to energetically share their culture with another group does not immensely impact the diffusion of cultural or task knowledge; moreover, high levels of task focus in a culture can hinder cultural diffusion, though performance is positively correlated with this characteristic. This study has relevance to post-merger integration research and practice by providing a theoretically grounded, quantitative model useful for estimating the post-merger dynamics of cultural awareness and knowledge diffusion for a specific merger situation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Communication*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Employment / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination / methods
  • Knowledge Management*
  • Leadership
  • Models, Organizational
  • Motivation
  • Nonlinear Dynamics
  • Organizational Culture
  • Professional Competence*
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Workplace / psychology