Mergers & acquisition integration processes from a Human Resources Perspective
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Mergers & acquisitions is a way for companies to grow and expand into new areas and technology and this business is rapidly increasing. For such deals and the following integrations to be successful, the human resources (HR) function plays an important part together with the rest of an integration team. This thesis has been structured around a set of research questions using Schlumberger as a case company. The main research question is: • What are considered critical success factors for M&A processes from an HR perspective? To help answer this question, some subsequent research questions were also investigated: • What is the current state on M&A, mainly from an HR perspective, in the literature? • What are the latest recommendations from the literature for M&A processes in HR? • What is the current state of HR integration processes in Schlumberger? • What does the literature recommend that can be implemented in Schlumberger for improvements and why? • Should Schlumberger change its current state and why? • If so, how should Schlumberger change its current state to improve M&A HR integration processes? (Recommendations only). These questions were answered through an extensive literature review with subsequent interviews and an open-ended survey from the case company, Schlumberger. Through the exploratory literature review, interviews, an open-ended survey and the use of a secondary data source, information on several important aspects where the HR function play an important part during integrations were uncovered, including: • Communication is key! Communication done poorly will be devastating and costly in the long-term. Spending proper time, energy and effort on doing it properly from day one could make the integration a success. • Knowledge capturing. If a company goes through integration processes several times per year, the knowledge from each process should be captured for future integrations. Thus avoiding that the integration team has to reinvent the wheel for each process. • Having a well functioning integration team and preferably one with prior integration experience can greatly ease the integration process. The size and complexity of such a team will vary with the size and complexity of the integration at hand. • To have continuity from due diligence throughout the integration process, avoiding that all the work done during the due diligence process is lost or forgotten during the integration. Having a link to the initial experts can ease the integration process immensely and avoid potential pitfalls that were uncovered during this phase. • Culture is a less important factor than what the literature might portray. In the integrations reviewed for this research, culture is an overarching issue, but not mentioned as an area of concern or an area where any major efforts where used. Ignoring culture and especially organization culture can however cause integrations to fail. This research also raises the important question on if the recommendations from the literature actually will work in real organizational life. The majority of the literature reviewed is all written in hindsight and based on information once the process has been chewed and processed by the company already. Rarely is anyone let in on the action from the beginning of the process for the purpose of research. The main findings from this research project will be presented as suggestions for improvements for Schlumberger during future integration processes.
Master's thesis in Change management