Ambivalent Perspectives: An Ethnographic Case Study of Ambivalence in Postacquisition Integration



In this article, I will draw upon Smelser's concept of ambivalence as a means of better understanding cultural factors in the integration of the Cowley Works automobile factory into the BMW Group. In doing so, I will be considering, first, how an integration of the concept of ambivalence improves understanding of conflict and consensus in mergers and acquisitions, second, how the use of ambivalence-friendly methods, such as ethnography, can improve data gathering and analysis in such cases, and, finally, exploring how the concept of ambivalence allows the problematization of the role of the researcher, the preconceptions brought to the analysis, and the received wisdom or folk categories which permeate the study, as well as the practice, of business. I will conclude by considering some ways forward for the exploration of ambivalence in cross-cultural management. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.