The Moral Side of M&A: Changing Morale Reflecting Moral Change?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPaper in conference proceedingpeer-review


Is personnel resistance in deed as dysfunctional as it is assumed to be, in M&A theory? According to Hirschman (1970), voice is more loyal than exit, implying that employees telling their opinion should be understood as a sign of loyalty, rather than a problem. An important aspect of loyalty is its moral basis. Scanning M&A literature, it becomes evident that very little has been written on the moral aspects of M&A. A case study of a merger was conducted, with the purpose to understand the influence that moral aspects could have on morale (understood as an expression of personnel‟s sense of loyalty to the organization), using theory on the social/psychological contract and utilitarianism. Could a changing morale reflect moral change? The study showed that, in the beginning of the merger process, when the management style was democratic and open, management invited to a psychological contract with personnel. During the merger process, management gradually shifted to mainly utilitarian principles. Personnel assumed that the psychological contract was still valid and regarded management‟s new sense of reasoning as disloyal. Often, the purpose of personnel resistance was to make management return to the previous moral order.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication[Host publication title missing]
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2006
EventAnnual Conference of the European Academy of Management (EURAM), 2006 - Oslo, Oslo, Norway
Duration: 2006 May 172006 May 20
Conference number: 6

Publication series

ISSN (Print)1652-814X


ConferenceAnnual Conference of the European Academy of Management (EURAM), 2006

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Economics and Business


  • Ethics
  • acquisitions
  • resistance
  • change management
  • mergers


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