How Groups Merge: The Effects of Merger Integration Patterns on Anticipated Commitment to the Merged Organization1


  • 1

    This research was supported by National Institute of Mental Health Grant R01 MH48721 to Samuel L. Gaertner and John F. Dovidio. We thank Richard Moreland for his very helpful comments on earlier drafts of this manuscript and Stephen Armeli for his advice concerning the statistical analyses.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Samuel L. Gaertner, Department of Psychology, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716, or Gary R. Mottola, Marketing and Sales Department, PECO Energy, 2301 Market Street, S19-1, P.O. Box 8699, Philadelphia, PA 19101-8699.


This study examined the influence of merger integration patterns on expectations about the merger process. The integration patterns included the absorb, in which the merged organization closely resembled the acquiring company; the blend, in which features of both companies were maintained, and the combine, in which the organization resembled neither pre-merger company. Undergraduates role-played employees of a merging organization and written scenarios manipulated the integration pattern and membership in the acquired or acquiring organization. Participants' commitment to the merged organization was most favorable in the combine pattern. Path analyses indicated that the relationship between merger integration pattern and organizational commitment is mediated by the conditions of intergroup contact, perceptions of organizational support, organizational unity, and the degree of threat experienced.