Changes in employees' attitudes at work following an acquisition: a comparative study by acquisition type


UQAM (University of Quebec at Montréal), ESG, Case Postale 8888, Succursale Centre Ville, Montreal, Quebec H3C 4R2, Canada. Email:


The purpose of this paper is to examine how employee reaction varies in the event of an acquisition, and ultimately, to show that it depends on the acquisition context; specifically: (1) the legitimacy of the purchasing firm's identity, and (2) the extent of the organizational changes or discontinuity resulting from the acquisition. The research hypotheses considered are tested using a single questionnaire administered repeatedly over a five-year period to the employees of 85 sites belonging initially to three different firms: ABC (the acquiring firm), EFG (the firm taken over in a friendly acquisition) and XYZ (firm absorbed in a hostile acquisition). The results mainly show that employees working at sites belonging initially to EFG have higher organizational identification scores than those at sites belonging initially to XYZ. Insecurity scores increase at all sites after the acquisition period, even for employees who originally belonged to ABC. Finally, a temporal link is seen between organizational identification, insecurity and job satisfaction.