Diversity Challenges of Mergers and Acquisitions


Integrating a newly merged or acquired organization can be challenging, particularly if the organizations are from different global cultures.  In these cases, it’s more than integrating talent, it’s also about addressing how the company will incorporate (or not) the various business and cultural nuances that are practiced within different regions and countries.  This type of diversity is particularly significant to making it possible for the newly merged organization to successfully achieve the business objectives intended.

A few suggestions on what to consider as you move to integrate diversity:

  • Identify the similarities between the merged organizations
  • Be explicit when identifying the differences between the merged organizations in terms of the company’s business objectives
  • Determine which will better serve these objectives
  • Be authentic and forth-right in communicating internally the rationale to promote/eliminate certain business practices
  • Encourage feedback as changes are implemented
  • Leverage members of the organizations who can be the “eyes” and “ears” to represent all segments of the talent pool so every “voice” is heard
  • Be flexible enough to course correct, if necessary.

When mergers happen across global borders, both business and national culture must be considered in the integration strategy or risk achieving the intended business objectives.  Could this be the case in the 1998 merger of between Daimler-Benz and Chrysler?  From all accounts, it appears that this merger didn’t work because the leadership team didn’t quite reconcile the different organizational, managerial, ideological, and design approaches each brought to merger.

What has worked successfully for you?  I’d love to hear from you.