Acculturation in Cross-Border Acquisitions: A Theoretical Framework for Dissecting the Process

By Robin Hurst and David Szabla.

Published by The Organization Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

With direct foreign investment estimated at US$ 1.4 trillion, organizations are finding themselves involved in cross-border mergers and/or acquisitions. While this global trend seems to stand out in the business landscape, it is not without problems. Studies have shown that more than 50% of M&A do not lead to expected outcomes. While many reasons have been cited for the less than stellar performance, culture, both organizational and societal, has often been underestimated as a contributing factor to the situation. Acculturation, or the change (s) which takes place when two diverse groups come together, has been the focus of much scholarly research in both sociology and business. Nahavandi and Malekzadeh (1988) use the model of acculturation to describe the interactions in mergers and acquisitions. We propose a framework which takes their theoretical work a step further by combining the dynamic processes of realization, symbolization, interpretation, and manifestation proposed by Hatch (1993) in the Cultural Dynamics Model to describe the continuous development of organizational culture. The framework also considers the implication of societal culture in the acculturation process. The Acculturation in Cross-Border Acquisitions framework expands the definition of acculturation to include the dynamic processes of organizational culture, and attempts to provide a deeper understanding of the process of acculturation.

Keywords: Organizational Culture, Societal Culture, Acculturation, Cross-Border Mergers and Acquisitions

International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management, Volume 9, Issue 12, pp.147-166. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.624MB).

Dr. Robin Hurst

Doctoral Candidate, Graduate School of Education and Human Development, The George Washington University, Richmond, Washington, DC, USA

Robin Hurst is a doctoral candidate in Human and Organizational Learning at The George Washington University, where she also earned a Master of Arts in Human Resource Development. Her research interests focus in the areas of organizational culture, societal culture, and change. Her current research is centered around culture and change in cross-border mergers and acquisitions. Robin is a Human Resources professional with over 15 years experience in domestic (US) and international human resources. She is currently consulting with organizations on a variety of human resource initiatives. She also serves as an adjunct faculty member in Executive Education at the Robins School of Business at the University of Richmond.

Dr. David Szabla

Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Clinical Management and Leadership, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, The George Washington University, Cambridge, Washington, DC, USA

Dr. David Szabla is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Clinical Management and Leadership, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, at The George Washington University where he teaches organizational change, organizational leadership, and research methods. Dr. Szabla also serves as a part-time faculty member in the College of Professional Studies at Northeastern University where he teaches organizational leadership and organizational communication. Dr. Szabla’s research focuses on the content, process, and context of organizational change. Currently, Dr. Szabla is studying the relationship between receptivity to organizational change and national culture, and the relationship between organizational change content and organizational change strategy. Dr. Szabla is also developing and validating two measures: one that assesses perception of change strategy as perceived by those undergoing an organizational change, and one that assesses receptivity to organizational change along cognitive, emotional, and intentional dimensions. Dr. Szabla received his masters in Human Resource Education from Boston University and his doctorate in Human and Organizational Studies from The George Washington University.

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