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Identity construction in organizations nested in larger structures: a multiple case study of Sino-European M&As

English title Identity construction in organizations nested in larger structures: a multiple case study of Sino-European M&As
Applicant Lupina-Wegener Anna
Number 163106
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution HEIG-VD
Institution of higher education University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland - HES-SO
Main discipline Economics
Start/End 01.09.2016 - 31.12.2020
Approved amount 320'401.00
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All Disciplines (3)

Discipline
Economics
Science of management
Applied psychology

Keywords (5)

Organizational ambivalence; Multiple identities ; Cultural/ Institutional distance ; Identity construction; Organizational culture change

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
Anna Lupina-Wegener
Lay summary

Malgré des informations substantielles fournies par des recherches antérieures, la construction de l’identité d’organisations intégrées dans de plus grosses structures semble toujours être mal comprise. Nous comblons cette lacune du domaine de la recherche en nous référant à l’identité sociale et aux théories institutionnelles dans le cadre de fusions et acquisitions (F&A) transfrontalières dans lesquelles une organisation nouvellement acquise est intégrée à une structure plus importante, celle de l’acquéreur. De plus, les F&A transfrontalières offrent un contexte pertinent puisque: 1) les organisations qui fusionnent  sont intégrées dans des cultures et institutions différentes, et 2) les identités multiples sont marquantes. Ainsi, notre étude nous amènera à découvrir la manière dont les organisations fusionnées modèlent la spécificité de leurs caractéristiques, qu’elles soient locales (industrie ou concurrence) ou lointaines (nation, regroupement géographique), ainsi que celles qui leur étaient propres avant la fusion. En outre, nous examinerons la manière dont les identités multiples interagissent avec un changement de culture organisationnelle qui pourrait être source de confusion et d’ambivalence. Et, à ce jour, cette problématique n’a pas été suffisamment étudiée dans le contexte des dynamiques intergroupes.

Nous concentrons nos recherches empiriques sur les fusions et acquisitions sino-occidentales car elles se font dans un contexte de prépondérance de l’éloignement institutionnel et culturel. Nous élaborerons une étude de cas multiples, car étant plus pertinente, pour les recherches liées à la théorie du développement. Des analyses croisées permettront de suivre une logique de répétition reposant sur les similitudes et les différences identifiées dans les différents cas.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 20.08.2016

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Abstract

Broader context. Despite important insights provided by past research, identity construction in organizations nested in larger structures seems poorly understood. We address this research gap by referring to social identity and institutional theories in the context of cross-border mergers and acquisitions (M&As) wherein an acquired organization becomes nested in a larger structure of the acquirer.Research focus and rational. The primary purpose of this study is that of building a theory of identity construction in organizations nested in larger structures. Cross-border M&As offer a relevant context as i) merging organizations are embedded in distinct cultures and institutions and ii) multiple identities are salient. Thus, our study will uncover how post-merger organizations draw their identities’ distinctive, central and enduring characteristics from local (industry or competition) and distant (nation, geographic clusters) environments as well as from the pre-merger organizations. Moreover, we will explore how multiple identities interplay with an organizational culture change, which may trigger ambivalence which to date remains under-investigated in the context of intergroup dynamics and especially with regards to East-West partnerships. Thus, we will focus on the following research questions:•Cultural and institutional distance: how may post-merger organizations draw their multiple identities on local and distant environments well as characteristics of the pre-merger organizations?•Socio-cultural integration process: how may multiple identities inform and result from organizational culture change?•Organizational ambivalence: under which conditions (identity, culture, status) might collective responses (avoidance, dominance, compromise, holism) to ambivalence take place in cross-border M&As, and how do these responses manifest themselves across cultures?Method and Analytical Strategy. A multiple case study design will be employed as most relevant in exploratory studies aiming at theory development. Cross-case analysis enables to follow a replication logic based on identified similarities and differences across cases. We will analyze empirical data referring to a four-staged analysis in process oriented multiple cross-case design.Intended contribution. The primary purpose of this study is to develop a theory of identity construction in organizations nested in larger structures. We choose Sino-West M&As offering an ideal empirical context to explore the research questions. The project aims to make the following three contributions for extant research and theory. First, we contribute to the literature on identity construction in organizations nested in larger structures referring to social identity and institutional theories. Second, we inform the International Management literature by uncovering the development of multiple identities in Multinational Corporations. Particularly, our qualitative study may shed light on different identification processes across cultures (c.f. relevance of the social identity theory in East Asia) and reactions to ambivalence in the intergroup context as may differ between Western and East Asian members. Third, the study will critically reflect on the M&A literature, which to date chiefly focuses on identity dynamics within the post-merger organization. Our study will be one of first to explicitly shed light on identity construction drawing on characteristics from local and distant environments, as well as from the pre-merger organizations.Broader impact. The findings of the project may contribute to effective building of quality management teams in Chinese acquisitions in Europe and European acquisitions in China. Thus, our research results can be transferred to business. To this end, we will provide executives with best practices on managing their Sino-West M&As, joint ventures and other forms of alliances. We will present solid data regarding success and risk factors of M&As building on results from the four studied organizations.
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