Q B1.1: Are major problems likely when combining different cultures in this combination of "bricks and clicks"?
The merger of American Online (AOL) and Time Warner has launched a new trend of emerging organizations: the combining of traditional, established companies with Internet powerhouses.
There are several different thoughts regarding this issue in merging companies with different cultures. Some specialists in the industry argue that most of the deals don't really fall apart on a culture issue. As an example, Dennis Kozlowski mentioned that most collapses on price are not due to cultural differences between the companies. He also considered the employees and managers of a company as flexible persons who can easily adjust to different cultures in the case of a merger or an acquisition. On the other hand, other specialists such as Jan Leschly stipulate that most of the benefits of mergers are diluted due to management differences and "culture clashes".
I will use the framework from Howson Peter to consider the particular cultural topics to watch in the case of a merger:
Attitude to risk and uncertainty
Attitudes to rules and regulations
Speed of change
Speed of decision making
Focus on the big picture rather than detail, or the other way around
The importance of hierarchy, status and the maintenance of power
Formal versus informal systems
The degree of openness: how much information is shared?
Individual versus collective responsibility
I assume, for my example, that a large "brick" company that is operating in a "mature" market acquires a smaller but high-growth "click" company. A high-growth e-business may have a culture based on:
A confident attitude to risk and uncertainty. Employees that have known only success in a high-growth industry may be less risk-averse and different from people that are operating in a status quo industry ,