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Post-Merger Intercultural Communication in Multinational Companies

A Linguistic Analysis


Christina Burek

In this book, the focus is on post-merger intercultural integration, effective communication between the relevant cultures and the different politeness strategies adopted by them. It is argued that cultural differences are a key issue in misunderstandings and miscommunication, which can affect a smooth post-merger integration, thereby focusing on differences between the Australians, US-Americans, Germans and the Swiss. The research contributes to bridge the gap between pragmatics, sociolinguistics and intercultural management studies. The empirical findings identify a company’s social dimensions and execution skills as strategic sources of competitive advantage in cross-border M&A activity.


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1 Introduction


An increasing number of empirical studies published during the first half of the 1990s indicated that merger and acquisition (M&A) activity was providing mixed results in relation to the strategic and financial expectations (cf. Jaeger 2001). Executives, management consultants and academics increasingly ac- knowledged that cultural and organisational complexities were critical factors behind many failed M&As. Consequently, in the mid 1990s many academics, executives and practitioners showed a growing interest in the topic of managing across cultural differences (e.g., Hofstede 1991; Storti 1994; Ansari / Jackson 1995; Cushner / Brislin 1996; Adler 1997; Mead 1998; Marx 1999). Whilst a series of technological, socio-economic and political develop- ments encouraged the globalisation of companies, driving international M&A activity to record levels, many companies found themselves struggling to ad- dress the practical complexities involved in managing across diverse cultural environments. In practice, cultural issues arising from the implementation of cross-border mergers and acquisitions are often extremely complex to manage. Deep-rooted resistance, continuous interpersonal conflicts, and constant com- munication problems can all be motivated or intensified by cultural differences, easily undermining the benefits expected from these agreements (cf. Hofstede 1991; Jaeger 2001). This book focuses on how cultural differences can be treated as an explana- tory variable in cross-cultural pragmatic studies. It proposes to analyse the inte- gration process of a cross-border acquisition as an intercultural communication process focussing on different politeness strategies applied by the managers of the different cultures involved. The work of various anthropologists and re- searchers, in...

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