Communication during tough times becomes an
important factor, along with keeping employees happy. Communication can
also help in changing a company's culture. One expert writes, "Every
company has a distinct culture as well as its own idiosyncrasies. Some
idiosyncrasies enhance performance while others breed dysfunction" (Haper,
2009, pg. 46). Haper states that the dysfunctional cultures portrayed in
Dilbert comic strips or in television shows like The Office are far too
common in many companies. He writes, "numerous factors contribute to poor
corporate cultures, but with awareness and a strategy for improvement, they
can be removed" (pg. 46). Haper believes that the key ingredient to a
successful corporate culture is the commitment level of the employees.
Haper said, "If the people are not committed, then nothing else can make up
for a dysfunctional culture" (pg. 47).
The question then becomes, how to get the employees committed when
faced with the uncertainty of a corporate merger. One method for doing so
would be for employees from both companies to meet in a social setting as
well as in the workplace. Another method is to ensure that employees from
both firms understand the focus of the new company. This can happen
through corroboration and communication. A good example of this type of
corroboration is the synergy between WalMart and Proctor & Gamble (P&G).
Though the two companies have not merged (and presumably do not plan
to do so in the near future) their cooperation can be a guiding light for
those firms who are in the process of merging. One recent article
espoused the fact that "Their collaboration has included continuous-
replenishment technology and several initiatives at the point of sale, such
as an effort to boost Wal-Mart's share of cough, cold and flu remedies by
jointly stressing the need for consumers to be prepared for such illnesses.
The effort helped increase Wal-Mart's market share of the products by 30%"
(Hamstra, 2008, pg. 21). Part of the reason behind such collaboration is
that A.G. Lafley, the CEO of P&G has established a culture there that
relies on workers who are committed to excellence. Hamstra writes that
"Lafley refocused the company on serving the consumer and built a corporate
culture around a redefined mission of product innovation" (pg. 20).
Merging companies may take a page out of Lockheed's book as well.
Lockheed has a number of employees who have been working there for a number
of decades. "And the employees are good at what they do. Along with happy
employees, Lockheed also seems to have happy customers. A corporate motto,
'We never forget who we're working for' is taken to heart" (Bangert, 2008,
It would seem then that ensuring that employees are happy is a key
ingredient in a viable company and especially in a merger situation.
Employees who have open access to communicate with management seem to
have a much easier time in adjusting to stressful events. This is
especially true as the global economy and marketplace becomes a much more
cutthroat arena. One recent article tells about the global economic market
by stating, "to make it in this environment, project leaders have to know
how to recruit and retain the top players - and how to nurture raw talent"
(Greengard, 2009, pg. 8). Whenever mergers take place, the top players
must be addressed almost immediately. With other companies seeking to lure
these individuals away, it is most important that management from both
companies sit down with the top-talent with information specifically on
what is taking place.
Without this open communication, top employees, and others will be
filled with angst, wonder and confusion. Addressing that confusion is the
best policy, at least according to the latest literature.
Bangert, M.; (2009) Success story, Quality, Vol. 47, No. 9, pp. 32 - 36
Chang, J.; (2009) Settled for $1bn, ICIS Chemical Business, Vol. 275, No.
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Gose, B.; (2008) Leader of Mott Foundation charged in lawsuit by sugar
company employees, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Vol. 20, No. 17, pg.
Greengard, S.; (2009) Vanishing act, PM Network, pp. 8 -13 supplement
Haper, S.C.; (2009) Removing dysfunction, Industrial Engineer, Vol. 41, No.
2, pp. 45 - 49
Hamstra, M.; (2008) A.G. Lafley, Supermarket News, Vol. 56, No. 48, pp. 20
Hua, T.; (2008) Deal to transform ABP and Cordares, Pensions & Investments,
Vol. 36, No. 3, pps. 3, 27)
Kamalick, J.; (2008) Hunker…