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Workshop 2 (half day)

Making Mergers and Acquisitions Work: The Basics and Beyond

Presenter:         Mitchell Lee Marks, San Francisco State University and JoiningForces.org
Coordinator:      Linda Carr, Sun Micro Systems

Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are occurring at a record pace in both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors.  For 25 years, I-O psychologists have documented the impact of M&A on employee well-being and organizational effectiveness.  And, they have developed interventions to minimize unintended consequences of being merged or acquired—including employee distraction from performance and culture clash—and to maximize opportunities to use the combination as an opportunity to build a new and better organization.  However, managing the human, cultural, and organizational aspect of M&A still tends to be an afterthought as combinations are planned and implemented.  Fully 75% of all mergers and acquisitions fail to achieve their desired financial or strategic results.

This workshop is organized around two distinct modules.  The first module examines the basics of “the human side” of M&A.  It reviews the human, cultural, and organizations issues that have the most impact on eventual M&A success and presents interventions available to address these issues.  The second module reflects on and considers the question “If we have known these issues and interventions for over 2 decades, how come most M&A’s continue to produce disappointing results?”  In this second module, we examine some emerging trends in M&A implementation (e.g., using the period between merger announcement and legal closing to prepare for combinations) as well as discuss how I-O psychologists—both internal and external to the firm—can gain “a seat at the table” in M&A planning. 

Participants are encouraged to bring actual cases they are currently or recently involved with.  Time will be provided to develop action plans for enhancing the integration process.

This workshop is designed to help participants:

  • Describe the three phases of the M&A process
  • Identify the causes of employee stress and distraction from performance during the M&A process
  • Identify the causes and stages of culture clash in mergers and acquisitions
  • List strategies and tactics for managing employee stress and distraction from performance during a merger or acquisition
  • List strategies and tactics for addressing cultural dynamics in mergers and acquisitions
  • Describe various ways in which I-O psychologists can advise on the M&A process

Mitchell Lee Marks has been studying and advising on the planning and implementation of mergers and acquisitions for 25 years.  He has worldwide experience in over 100 mergers and acquisitions, covering practically all industry sectors, and has been dubbed a “merger maven” by Fortune magazine.  He has lectured on the M&A process at the Harvard Business School, Smithsonian Institution, and to a wide variety of scientific and practitioner audiences.  He regularly works with organizations to enhance their integration management capabilities.  He is the coauthor, with Philip Mirvis, of Joining Forces: Making One Plus One Equal Three in Mergers, Acquisitions and Alliances.  Currently on the faculty of the College of Business at San Francisco State University, Mitchell received his PhD in I-O psychology from the University of Michigan.

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