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Keywords:

  • cultural;
  • integration;
  • postacquisition;
  • knowledge-based model

Abstract

The author proposes a knowledge-based theoretical approach to cultural integration in mergers and acquisitions (M&A). The model proposed in this article examines the nature and features of the integration process using a knowledge lens to view the cultural and organizational integration mechanism leading to integration effectiveness. Drawing from advances in the acquisition, strategic HRM, knowledge management, and leadership literatures, the model identifies knowledge leadership, cultural knowledge integration, early involvement in integration process design, and variables related to causal ambiguity as key components of an effective set of practices for integration in these contexts. It does so under the rubric of a relational HR archetype for managing knowledge flows. The model explains the processes through which these constructs impact integration effectiveness. The contributions of this approach, limitations, and directions for future theoretical and empirical research are discussed. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.