The Role of Sociocultural Adjustment During an Internal Merger Change

By Felicity Joslin, Lea Waters and Paul Dudgeon.

Published by The Organization Collection

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

Large-scale corporate restructures are a commonly used business strategy performed to streamline structure and systems, and hence, improve efficiency and competitive advantage. Reconfiguring a workforce is not an easy task, however, especially if it involves the amalgamation of previously distinct workgroups. The personal and work-related consequences of merger-related change have been well-researched and documented, as have the support mechanisms that change managers can use to support the change. Following the proposition that sociocultural adjustment may also contribute to merger outcomes, the current study used structural equation modelling to assess the experiences of two previously distinct employee groups as they interacted during an internal merger. The two employee samples were sourced from a multi-national communications organisation (N = 295; males = 45%, females = 55%). Data was collected through questionnaires at three points in time (baseline, 6 months and 12 months). Structural equation results indicated that sociocultural adjustment was an important factor that contributed to employees' personal (i.e. psychological distress) and work-related (i.e. role ambiguity, job satisfaction, and organisational commitment) outcomes of change over. Sociocultural adjustment played a role above antecedent mechanisms used by the employee (i.e. openness to change) and the organisation (communication, social support, and employee participation). A multiple-group model showed that sociocultural adjustment affected psychological distress, but not work-related outcomes, differently for the host and acculturated groups. Specifically, sociocultural adjustment contributed to the acculturated group’s psychological distress significantly more than to the host group’s. Overall, the findings of the current research highlight the importance of managing the sociocultural aspects of merger-related change.

Keywords: Sociocultural Adjustment, Organisational Change, Employee Resistance

The International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management, Volume 6, Issue 10, pp.25-40. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.127MB).

Dr Felicity Joslin

The University of Melbourne, Australia

Felicity Joslin has recently completed a Doctorate in Industrial and Organisational Psychology at the University of Melbourne. Her Doctorate thesis was titled The Experience of an Internal Merger: The Relationships between Openness to Change, Institutional Support, Acculturation, Psychological Distress and Work-Related Outcomes. Whist completing her thesis, Felicity also worked actively with the research organisation as an organisational behaviour and change consultant. Here, she developed and facilitated a series of Idea Generation workshops designed to bring together different employee cultures within the workplace to address key employee concerns (i.e. communication, leadership, reward, and equity). Felicity has six years experience in the fields of organisational psychology, development, and change. She has previously worked at Coyne Didsbury PDI, ANZ, Mercer HR Consulting, and Lifeline Melbourne. She is currently residing in London on a Working Holiday visa.

Dr Lea Waters

The University of Melbourne, Australia

Lea Waters is an Associate Professor in the Department of Management, Faculty of Economics and Commerce, University of Melbourne. She holds a PhD in organisational psychology and has published in the fields of management, organisational psychology and education. Her work has been published and presented in the USA, Canada, Australia, Britian and Europe. In 2004 she was awarded the Australian and New Zealand 'Management Educator of the Year' award. In 2005 she was awarded the Elton Mayo Early Career Award from the Australian College of Organisational Psychologists.

Dr Paul Dudgeon

The University of Melbourne, Australia

Paul teaches quantitative methods in the Department, primarily in the areas of research methods, structural equation modelling, multilevel modelling, item response modelling and regression. His research interests broadly cover two main areas: (a) the use of structural equation modelling and multilevel modelling, and (b) the application of quantitative methods to psychological data, especially in the area of the psychopathology of psychotic disorders. As well as research in these two areas, he is also involved in a large scale longitudinal study of affect regulation in early adolescence that is headed by Associate Professor Nick Allen at the ORYGEN Research Centre in Parkville, and has ongoing research collaborations with a number of researchers at the ORYGEN Research Centre.

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