Social Media in Action: Enabling change and supporting integration during M&A processes

Da ich mich in den letzten Tagen in ein interessantes Thema für einen Vortrag der Quadriga Hochschule auf der Online Communications Konferenz in Kopenhagen eingearbeitet habe (, allerdings nur die wenigsten, die ich kenne, daran teilnehmen können, hier ein paar Thesen aus der Präsentation - ausgehend von der Grundannahme, dass die Integration und das Teambuilding der Mitarbeiter das wesentliche Erfolgskriterium der meisten Merger sind. Unser bestes Kapital eben ;)

"There's no single but several reasons why a merger may not achieve the intended success. But in many cases there are clear weaknesses during the integration process, particularly with regard to the related change communications strategy and tools. The infrastructure and processes put too much focus on the top-down process of communicating the main strategic priorities of the management. Communicators do not foster the global interaction necessary for true engagement in the new company's mission. They therefore don't manage to instill the passion, team spirit, and sense of urgency in the company necessary to make the merger a success.

The tools, processes and infrastructure don't support 

  • bottom-up feedback possibilities (missing radar function);
  • pull mechanisma that complement push mechanisms;
  • radar-, brainstorming- and idea-jamming processes;
  • cross-boundary team-building;
  • the analysis of outcome information regarding the communications efforts.

As execution is often seen as more important than collaboration, and efficient cascading more important than localization and adaptation, the identity building and integration is experienced as an artificial top-down process led by the HQ, the process inherently entrenches cultural silos rather than breaking them down and old antagonisms can easily survive and be revived.

Internal Social Media can help. There built-in "socializing" opportunities can

  • complement strategy by human interaction;
  • foster the spirit of “Co”, e.g. the experience of a community (e.g. by means a company facebook), mission-based co-creation ( means of a companywide wiki development or employee-based news network) or cross-boundary collaboration (e.g. by means of “innovation jams”);
  • enable easy day-to-day dialogues that foster team building;
  • enable personal connections (“following”) to develop a cross-cultural understanding for personal and local challenges;
  • fulfill a basic radar and monitoring function.

As a summary: Social Media are a great way to support the change and integration communications necessary to realize the full potential of mergers and acquisitions. The tools and processes will help you focusing on the most valuable asset of any integration process: the individuals that make the change happen. Online communications during M&A should therefore provide the company with innovative mechanisms for dialog, team and community building. It should also support collaboration and knowledge sharing. These strategic elements will foster faster and more complete adoption of the new company's identity and goals."