By Martine Cardel Gertsen, Anne-Marie Soederberg and Eero Vaara, 2000


There have been a number of attempts to explain post-merger problems by cultural differences, and in this paper, we argue that much previous research on mergers is based on an essentialist concept of culture. We claim that this conception is a problematic starting point for cultural studies, and argue for a social constructionist alternative. The conceptual challenges we address are: decontextualization of cultural issues, cultural differentiation and fragmentation, and structural versus processual views on culture. We also outline an agenda for future merger research and argue for studies focusing on cultural sensemaking processes in merging organizations by adopting narrative perspectives.