- New Horizons in Management series
Chapter 3: Post-Merger Integration as a Change of Social Identity
3. Post-merger integration as a change of social identity The social identity theory’s focus is on identity construction and group interaction. It has been widely applied in studies of acculturation in social anthropology, in studies of inter-group relations and speciﬁcally in management studies. The social identity theory can help us to better understand what happens emotionally when two groups or identities (or organizations, in the case of M&As) come into contact with each other and are supposed to create a new common identity. While emotions in the studies of social identity have been neglected for a long time (Greenland and Brown, 2000; Johnston and Hewstone, 1990), recently the interest in this dimension of social identity theory seems to have been discovered in several authors (for example, Carr, 2001). The emergence of academic Internet discussion groups on emotions provides evidence for a growing relevance of the topic. Also conferences with titles like ‘Identity and Diversity in Organizations’ that call for papers regarding ‘emotions in the workplace’ (Lisbon, Portugal, 14–17 May 2003) are not unusual any more. For various reasons social identity theory is of particular interest here: ﬁrst, because M&A integration processes are about identity changes, group formation and inter-group relations; second, because emotions are considered as one of the components of social identity; third, because this theory implies a cognitive appraisal which leads to emotions; and fourth, because social identity theory has already been applied by some authors to the study of post-merger integration processes (Hogg...
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