Post-merger identification in a medium-sized Australian telecommunications company: a qualitative study
Mergers and acquisitions (M&As) are an increasingly popular form of corporate development strategy. Although M&As affect people at work, their impact on organisational identification (OI) has been neglected in the literature. Previous studies on M&As mostly pay attention to large US-based companies, despite the fact that Small and Medium-size Enterprises (SMEs) equally utilise M&As for rapid expansion. To address this gap, the thesis investigated how acquisitions affect employees’ OI in an Australian-based telecommunications SME.
The thesis employed a qualitative case study methodology, adopting semi-structured interviews and an inside-out approach to collect data. The thesis findings emphasised that in telecommunications SMEs, similarities in technology and products are extremely effective in increasing synergies. Moreover, SMEs adopt mixed integration strategies with a focus on the absorption approach. The case also illustrates that an SME’s strategy for growth to become a public company is a significant factor for employees to stay with it. Findings drawn from the collected data also reveal that in SMEs, identification with colleagues was stronger than identification with the company or the brand. The study concludes that redundancies at early stages of the acquisition can cause significant job threats; however, they may assist the merged SME to keep the best-fitted resources with the merged entity, and consequently increase the identification between employees. This research additionally highlights that multiple M&As in an organisation may affect employees’ identification with the organisation.