Merging Companies Too Often Fail to Properly Integrate Disparate Corporate Cultures

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Culture Change Must Translate into Specific Actions and Visible Changes in Behavior, Says Booz & Company’s Gerald Adolph in New Podcast Episode.

Integrating culture properly requires a great deal of rigor and a focus on what’s going in the trenches of the merging organizations. Too often, it ends up as an afterthought amid seemingly more pressing priorities.

Merging companies too often play lip service to integrating their disparate corporate cultures, potentially threatening the outcome of multibillion-dollar transactions.

"Culture change can't stop at descriptors and aspirations and, frankly, at high level platitudes. It has to translate into actual visible behavior change. That's true in any culture journey, but in a merger context it's particularly important,” says Gerald Adolph, a Senior Partner at Booz & Company and head of the firm’s Mergers and Restructuring group.

Adolph discusses the importance of culture in merger integration and how companies can improve the process in Episode 43 of the Mergercast by Booz & Company podcast, titled “The Role of Culture in Integration.”

Integrating culture properly requires a great deal of rigor and a focus on what’s going in the trenches of the merging organizations. Too often, it ends up as an afterthought amid seemingly more pressing priorities.

"We're treating culture more like the sprinkles on a cake as opposed to an essential ingredient in the cake,” he says.

High-level goals are important but not sufficient for success. Instead, Adolph says, merging companies must focus on the specific habits and value systems within each organization, paying special attention to the informal rules that shape behavior. These must be combined in a harmonious fashion.

"If you're in an integration – integration planning – if you’re looking hard at the cultural differences between the companies, you should find yourself confronted with uncomfortable choices and tradeoffs. And if not, there's a very good possibility that your culture effort hasn't gone deep enough," Adolph says.

About Mergercast
Mergercast by Booz & Company is a podcast series exploring the world of mergers, acquisitions and restructurings. Episode, No. 43, “The Role of Culture in Integration,” has a run time of 14 minutes and 41 seconds. Listeners can play the podcast on its homepage (http://www.booz.com/mergercast) or subscribe via RSS feed, e-mail or the iTunes store.

About Booz & Company
Booz & Company (booz.com) is a leading global management consulting firm focused on serving and shaping the senior agenda of the world’s leading institutions. Drawing on the talents and insights of more than 3,000 people in 58 offices around the world, we help our clients achieve essential advantage by working with them to identify and build the differentiating capabilities they need to outperform.

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Sharon Bially
MBS Value Partners
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