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Merging two distinct organisational cultures

Organisational mergers are not always easy. Being able to unify them can be quite tricky. Often issues can arise when it comes to merging company culture. The key to this is ensuring that the two cultures – however distinct they may be – become one, however this may be harder than you think. Mergers are arising more often than ever for many reasons, most commonly to give companies a good chance of survival, but also to get ahead of the competition.

The merging of two distinct organisational cultures is complicated and should be properly planned. The unfortunate reality is that merging two company cultures is not merely the combination of two operations under one management authority. Success of the integration comes with unification and quite often combines, replaces and transforms diverse systems, processes and organisational structures.


It may not be easy

Culture clashes are very common. The causes of this are many, but one is the failure to achieve the promised value. Companies with distinct organisational cultures might have very different ways of working, and so the way they work might not merge easily. This can cause frustration and anxiety, and may lead to people leaving, or severe demoralisation. There might be low productivity, and the issue might never be resolved. We don’t need to tell you what the complications of this might be for your business.


Bring in the experts

You might not know this, but there are experts with great success rates, who can save you from the dangerously high failure rate associated with severe changes, such as mergers. Yorkshire Change is one of those experts. We have experienced professionals who can work with you, guiding you through this journey in the quickest, most appropriate way. With our expertise and your full trust, you’ll be in the very low percentage of businesses that manage to merge successfully.



Integrating two distinct cultures requires identifying shared values, beliefs and behaviours to determine how people do things within the organisation, and how we can translate that into a new bigger company.

Below are the three major elements impacting culture combination within a merger:

  • Critical capability and decision making regarding where, how and when to compete, often defined by the organisation’s strategy.
  • Underpinning the behavioural norms which are to be exhibited by everyone associated with the organisation, from senior level to lower level employees.
  • The operating model of the company. This includes the structure, governance stance and mechanisms with the ways of working towards achieving what is set out to be achieved, as well as how the work is done, and the accountabilities.

When integrating two organisational cultures we need to first define the cultural objectives of the new parent organisation. This is usually a job for the higher level members of the organisation, such as the chief executive. This member of the organisation has to be able to maintain their commitment to the merger of the two distinct organisational cultures until the objective is realised.


Setting cultural agenda

Hard work is paramount if you want to set a cultural agenda, but it isn’t enough to ask people to get involved and work hard. You will need to know what you would like the outcome of the merger to be. What is the culture you want to see emerge from the combination of the two distinct cultures previously embedded in the two organisations? This is the key question, and you should take some real time answering it.

Often, mergers of culture can take several forms:

  • an acquirer can assimilate the acquired company
  • blended creation of both cultures
  • use of the merger to import the aquirees culture into its own organisation.

If you want the new branch of the company to take on your culture, or if you want it the other way around, you’re going to need to be strong about this, as you might hit resistance. A Yorkshire Change expert will help you determine what is the best course of action for your organisation in terms of meeting your objectives.


Diagnosing differences

Before we can do anything, we need to understand the differences in the two organisations’ cultures. This may not be as easy as it sounds. Most businesses have substantial differences, and it really isn’t easy to decide who is right and press ahead with that. You’ll need to devise a new plan, in which you take the strengths from both cultures and merge them together in a way that will build on both offerings. You’ll need to make sure you can measure your success, and identify any issues that may arise amongst people, or out of geographical differences, alternative units, and conflicting functions. If you’ve done all of that, you’re moving in the right direction.

Through this process, you will learn where there are gaps, and determine what your next move should be. There are a variety of methods and tools you can use to do this.


How we can help

Here at Yorkshire Change, we’ll walk with you on this journey. Our personable approach to your merger will help you quickly achieve your goals. We’ll help you to articulate your combined company values to your teams and achieve your objectives. We will help with the fostering of alignment, and accelerate progress to grow goals around the mission.


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