Mergers Fail when Cultures Clash

William Wallace, a 13th century Scottish warrior who led the Scots in the First War of Scottish Independence yelled, “Freedom!” just before he was beheaded for treason. The attempted “merger” of Scotland with England was less than successful because the cultural differences were large enough to cause a war.

I have been involved in acquiring four companies over the past five years and while no wars have erupted, I can attest to the fact that cultural integration is the most nebulous and the most challenging. When cultures clash the hoped for synergies of an acquisition or merger disappear very quickly.

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