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The cultural aspects of mergers and acquisitions

The complex issue of the relationship between operations designed to promote corporate growth and culture is addressed in a thesis

Merging a business to remain competitive, or growing in order to continue to play a central role in increasingly competitive markets. This constitutes part of the reasoning that underpins modern economies. These operations often represent crucial steps, involving the expansion of a company’s team and structure, and as such must also be understood from a cultural point of view as well as a purely organisational perspective. This is the goal that Valentin Zavala has attempted to achieve with a study discussed as part of the Master of Science in Economics and Business Administration at the University of Vaasa School of Marketing.

Zavala’s thesis, Cultural issues that family-owned businesses face in cross-border acquisition processes, is a good summary of the findings of the leading studies relating to the managerial and cultural aspects of mergers and acquisitions, with a particular focus on family businesses. Zavala begins his discussion with a comment on the importance that mergers and acquisitions between companies have assumed in recent years, focusing largely on the motivations that drive businesses to undergo such processes and looking at the reasons behind their success or failure. The author then turns his attention to the tangle of themes that lies between the cultural aspects of mergers and acquisitions and the specific situations faced by family businesses (with the hypothesis that these are the most widespread among entrepreneurial organisations).

The main question the thesis seeks to answer, writes Zavala, is “which cultural factors have an influence on the acquisition process in a family business that spans national borders”. In addition to this, Zavala also examines the differences in behaviour between family and non-family businesses, and looks at which family-related factors have an impact on success in the “pre-combination phase in transnational mergers and acquisitions”, as well as which aspects of the subsequent stages of a merger “are influenced by culture”.

Having provided a summary of the theory, Zavala’s work proceeds according to the classic field research approach: with the implementation of his method and a qualitative survey of a number of businesses that have lived through these experiences. Accordingly, the study adds another important layer of knowledge to improve our understanding of the complex theme of the changes and evolutions that the industrial system is currently traversing.

Cultural issues that family-owned businesses face in cross-border acquisition processes

Valentin Zavala M. A.

Thesis, Master of Science in Economics and Business Administration, University of Vaasa School of Marketing, 2020