Step 6: Develop M&A Culture Integration Plans

You can’t keep everyone happy when it comes to culture change in a merger. So, here’s the deal. Don’t get scattered trying to address all the cultural preference items people make noise about. And don’t tiptoe around the delicate culture issues if they’re crucial and need to be hit head-on. Focus sharply on what’s mission critical.

Ordinarily, only about 5 percent of the cultural issues truly qualify as mission critical. What does that mean? This small handful of traits accounts for about 95 percent of culture’s influence on operating performance. These are the “vital few.” The cultural matters that remain are more or less noise, the “trivial many.” And it’s a mistake for the organization to get distracted by these lightweight issues. Why? Because this remaining 95 percent that’s basically noise will soak up people’s attention, yet account for only 5 percent of culture’s overall impact on business results.

In this section, we offer research that offers important clues for cracking the code on culture in M&A. Plus, we provide tools that identify the few, meaningful cultural differences that should be be addressed in a culture integration plan.

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Corporate culture mergers & acquisitions
Corporate Culture Research: The "X Factor" in Merger Success and Failure
Over 130 executives participated in this PRITCHETT M&A study on culture due diligence.
M&A research and statistics
M&A: How Does Being Acquired Change the Game
Talent retention, productivity, and psychological readiness in acquired organizations.


Top ten key considerations
When Big Guys Buy Small Fries
Top ten key rules to follow.
conduct necessary hr m&a due diligence
The Case for Leadership Due Diligence in M&A
Assess personnel to ensure proper casting in the new merged organization.
Corporate Culture and M&A
The impact of M&A on culture and the challenge of culture change.


Culture Mapping Exercise
Culture Mapping Exercise
3-page assessment that calculates the degree of cultural differences in key areas.


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Operating analysis
Operating Style Analysis (Part I) 
An inquiry into the day-to-day operating fundamentals that reflect the cultural basics of how the business is run.
Operating analysis
Operating Style Analysis (Part II) 
A survey focused on cultural traits often determined to be mission-critical.
Operating analysis
How to Conduct the Operating Style Analysis plus the Operating Style Analysis Word Template 

The 3 page document discusses how the Integration Team should conduct the Operating Style Analysis in order to understand the similarities and differences between the two companies.
The 2-page Operating Style Analysis Word template follows the instructions.

Risk Based Due Diligence Model
Risk-Based Preacquisition Due Diligence Review Template 

Every review item in this template is used to help prospective investors develop a sense of expectations regarding a target company's ability to generate cash flows and to understand the degree of risk to which those cash flows are subject. 

4 level survey
Four Levels of Change Survey 

An assessment of how an organization’s culture influences its ability to function as an adaptive system.

Culture Context Questionnaire
Culture Context Questionnaire 

A systematic search for strengths, weaknesses, and wild cards