Between a rock and a hard place? - middle managers’ sensemaking in post-merger integration

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
School of Business | Master's thesis
Degree programme
Management and International Business (MIB)
95 + 2
Studies on mergers and acquisitions have in recent years taken more into consideration the crucial role middle managers have in the integration process and how that role can be taken into account to improve the success of the integration. Middle managers are important in implementing change especially during post-merger integration, since they are both recipients and deployers of the change plans. Additionally, individuals faced with a change, such as a merger or acquisition, use sensemaking when attempting to understand the meaning of the announced change as well as its effect on them and their role in the organization. The objective of my research is to study the sensemaking of middle managers in a merger of two Finnish restaurant industry companies. Literature on sensemaking, post-merger integration as well as the role of middle managers in organizational change will form the framework of the thesis. Through this research, I hope to understand better how middle managers experience post-merger integration. Thus, helping in planning better integration processes in the future. The empirical research is conducted by a single case study of a merger in the integration phase. Empirical material is gathered through in-depth interviews, with observation and internal writ-ten material acting as additional data sources. My findings illustrate that in post-merger integration, middle managers make sense of the situation in many different ways, tend to remain neutral to the overall process instead of straight-forward acceptance or resistance, but are very adamant on aspects that threaten their identity.
Thesis advisor
Junni, Paulina
M&A, mergers, post-merger integration, sensemaking, middle managers
Other note