Mergers and acquisitions are complicated by nature and, as shown, this is especially true with cross-border transactions where culture affects the areas of communication, behavior, management, environment, and accounting and finance. Cultural differences are not impossible to manage, rather, they require an awareness that they do exist and a willingness to set aside preconceived notions in order to find compromises and solutions as needed.
Mapping Mergers & Acquisitions Polar Grid Template™
The M&A Synergies Framework is useful in graphical form. Figure 5.1 The Mapping Mergers & Acquisitions Polar Grid Template™ allows management to view the factors that that lead to successful M&As in one place. The template shows where management should focus effort to ensure a successful blending of the acquisition. It is intended to be a source of reference for the international businessperson. It can help point to potential issues or misunderstandings and prepare the way for a culturally conscious transition. This graphic will help organizations manage successful mergers. Organizations should evaluate each area and determine key issues in the M&A. Factors plotted in the outer ring are least important to a successful M&A while the inner ring are the most important.
Culture is indeed relative and what matters is the way that cultures are positioned on dimension scales in relation to each other, not their absolute position. Additionally, the actual expression of expected cultural norms could certainly vary depending on the individual person, as well as according to each firm’s unique organizational culture. The views and examples presented and the associated dimension scales are intended only to inform the reader of the expected cultural differences. Examples of the occasional unexpected or even opposite cultural differences can also be found in literature. Additionally, like many other cultural studies, geographical country borders are loosely assumed to define the divisions of national culture, which may or may not be an accurate assumption depending on the country and the context of the M&A at hand. The examples provided might be applicable only to the facts of each individual M&A transaction and may not represent the cultures as a whole. We recommend spending additional time getting to know the specific counterpart culture of an anticipated merger or acquisition and conversing openly about expectations in order to find the most effective route to achieve the desired synergistic results.