Saturday, March 14, 2020
Significance of Environmental Analysis Essays Significance of Environmental Analysis Paper Significance of Environmental Analysis Paper Environment refers to all factors, the forces of influence of which have a bearing on functioning of the business. These factors may be internal such as the personnel and internal mechanism of the organization; or external such as competition, government policies, customer preferences, etc. Internal factors are controllable in nature. They include human resources, financial strength, marketing resources, physical assets, technological competitiveness, management structure and nature, company image and brand equity, value system, etc. These factors highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the organization. Weaknesses must be minimized or they may prove fatal to its survival. External factors are beyond the control Of the organization. They refer to the external environment Macro-environment (General environment) as well as Micro-environment (Operating environment). Micro-environmental factors tend to have a direct impact on the firm and are more intimately linked with the company than Macro-environmental factors. Micro- environmental factors include customers, competitors, channel intermediaries, suppliers, etc. Macro-environmental factors may be Demographic such as population size and density, literacy rate; Economic such as economic and fiscal policies of government, national and international trade situation, demand and supply factors; Physical environment and ecological factors such as availability Of natural resources, pollution situation; Technological factors such as availability of latest and competitive technology; or Political and Legal factors such as structure of legislature and stability of ruling political party. The success of every business firm or organization depends on adapting itself to the environment within which it operates. For example, when there is a change in the government policies, it has to make necessary changes to adapt it to new policies. Similarly, a change in technology may render existing reduces obsolete, as we have seen that the introduction of computer has replaced the typewriters. Again a change in the fashion or customers taste may shift the demand in the market for a particular product, e. . , the demand for jeans reduced the sale of other traditional wear. Hence, it is very necessary to have a clear understanding of the concept of business environment and the nature of its various components. Strategic Management Every business must have a strategic management mechanism in order to ensure its survival in the present competitive world. Strategic management involves formulating, implementing and evaluating Ross functional decisions that will enable the organization to achieve its objectives. It is the process of specifying the organizations objectives, developing policies and plans to achieve these objectives and allocating resources to implement the policies and plans to achieve the organizations objectives. It, therefore, combines the activities of all the various functional areas. It ensures correct direction for the enterprise. Strategic management does not replace traditional management activities such as budgeting, planning, monitoring, marketing, reporting and controlling. Rather, it integrates them into a broader context, taking into count the external environment, internal organizational capabilities and organizations overall purpose and direction. It is an ongoing process that assesses the business environment, sets goals and plans to meet the prevailing competitiveness, and evaluates the performance of the enterprise, thus creating a fit between the organization and its external environment and providing a process of coping with change and organizational renewal. STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT PROCESS [pick] Environmental Analysis Organizations scan the environment in order to understand the external forces of change so that they may develop effective responses which secure r improve their position in the future. They scan in order to avoid surprises, identify threats and opportunities, gain competitive advantage, and improve long- and short-term planning. Organizations usually scan their environments randomly, regularly as well as continuously. To the extent that an organizations ability to adapt to its outside environment is dependent on knowing and interpreting the external changes that are taking place, environmental scanning constitutes a primary mode of organizational learning. Environmental scanning includes both looking at information (viewing) and looking for information (searching). Environmental scanning is considered as one of the critical ingredients in the strategic formulation process. It can provide early warning signals to organizations from emerging environmental uncertainties, risks, threats and opportunities and hence reduce the chance of being blindly shielded. With effective environmental scanning, organizations would be able to obtain more accurate market and industry insights, and thereby be more likely to satisfy current customers and explore new market segments, successfully develop and market a new product or service based on trend analysis, or establish a utter brand image, all Of which would ultimately contribute to the financial performance. MEANING DEFINITION Environmental Scanning means an examination and study of the environment of a business unit in order to identify its survival and prosperity chances. It means observing the business environment both external and internal and understanding its implications for business opportunities. It also involves knowing beforehand the risks and uncertainties as well as threats to the business unit. Environmental Analysis is the monitoring, evaluating and disseminating of information from the external and the internal environment to key people thin the organization. It IS a process of gathering, analyzing and dispensing information for tactical or strategic purposes. The environmental scanning process entails obtaining both factual and subjective information on the business environments in which a company is operating or considering entering. Definitions The process by which strategists monitor the economic, governmental/ legal, market/competitive, supplier/technological, geographic and social settings to determine opportunities and threats to their firms Environmental Analysis is the monitoring evaluating and disseminating f information from the external and the internal environment to key people within the corporation Conceptual Map [pick HISTORY The idea of environmental scanning was developed by Jugular (1 967: Introduction). Jugulars definition was widely adopted in scanning literature (e. . , Albright in 2004; Coho in 1993. Later studies reinforced his definition without substantially altering this perspective, but more attention was given to searching than viewing, and environmental scanning was gradually extended to be a more complete and systematic information process. Daft and Wick (1984) looked at environmental scanning as an organization learning process, which could be divided into scanning (information seeki ng), interpretation (giving meaning to the collected data) and learning (taking action based on the data). Lester and Waters (1989) defined environmental scanning as a management process with three key components, I. E. Obtaining, analyzing and using information about the environment. Hough and White (2004) view environment scanning as a sequence of procedures of identifying, collecting, processing and translating information about external influences into useful decisions and plans. Albright (2004) defined environmental scanning as the internal immunization of external information about issues that may potentially influence an organizations decision-making process. Albright suggests that a formal environmental scanning process has five integrally linked steps: identifying the organizations scanning needs of the organization, gathering the information, analyzing the information, communicating the results, and making informed decisions. IMPORTANCE Environmental Scanning is essential because of following reasons: 1) Prime Influence Environment is a prime influence on the effectiveness of business strategies. If strategic planning is done without considering environment, it is keel to be defective. Besides, the success of the implementation of the strategy depends on the environmental factors. 2) A tool to anticipate Changes Environmental scanning is a very useful tool not only to understand business surroundings, but also as a good instrument to anticipate the changes and be prepared to face the challenges of such changes. 3) Time for adjustment A business unit cannot change the business activities overnight. It needs time to adjust with the changing environment. If it has to face the changed environment suddenly, it may be possible to make immediate hangers according to the demand of the changed environment.
Wednesday, February 26, 2020
What is the role of the supernatural epilogue to Gogol's Shinel ( the Overcoat) Does it force you as a reader to reinterpret the meaning of the story, or doest it remove any meaning the story may have had - Essay Example e works of great Russian artists of short story writing, such as Turgenev and Dostoyevsky, he automatically understands to what extent Ã¢â¬ËThe OvercoatÃ¢â¬â¢ has wrapped them up with its structural as well as aesthetic influence. The storyline of The Overcoat is very simple and it revolves around the daily struggle of the protagonist Akakii Akakievich for his survival. Application of the supernatural epilogue in the short story gives it a unique feature and it gradually takes the reader from mundane existence to a world of supernatural existence. As we finish reading the short story, we feel that GogolÃ¢â¬â¢s implementation of supernatural material in the story serves certain purpose. It not only gives the story a novel dimension but at the same time, he also uses the supernatural element as an instrument to reveal true character of the society and its inhabitants. To understand the importance of the supernatural epilogue in Ã¢â¬ËThe Overcoat,Ã¢â¬â¢ it is important to focus over flow of incidents in the story. The reader, as stats reading the story, finds that Gogol has provided excellent description of the protagonist and his daily life. In the course of reading the story the reader feels that he can almost visualize the whole thing and this quality of Gogol has recognized him among modern critics as Ã¢â¬Ëa pioneer of a new Ã¢â¬Å"naturalistÃ¢â¬ aestheticsÃ¢â¬â¢. The protagonist of the story, Akakii Akakievich, is a typical member of the middle class society of GogolÃ¢â¬â¢s time and earns his livelihood by working in a government office. The author has given detailed description of the protagonistÃ¢â¬â¢s apparent features only with the purpose to let the reader know that he does not posses any such external features that would differentiate him from the rest. He is just a common man, who has Ã¢â¬Å"Ã¢â¬ ¦short of stature, somewhat pockmarked, rather red-haired, rather blind, judging from appearances, with a small bald spot on his forehead, with wrinkles on his cheeks, with a complexion of the
Monday, February 10, 2020
Human Resource Management practices and their impact - Essay Example In other words an HRM policy and initiative based analysis is a near approximation of an otherwise intractable continuum which lacks definable contours and a logical conceptual framework of reference. While theoretical constructs underlying this approach have been presented as a uniform analysis there is very little attention being focused on the qualitative paradigm shift caused by the a priori and a posteriori catalytic changes. Thus the qualitative shift in this study is essentially based on these outcomes and the latest calibrations and/or benchmarks enunciated by researchers to establish a conceptual framework for analysis. This paper just focuses on the latest HRM related practices and their theoretical evolutionary process with reference to a company's operational environment at a global level. Multicultural workforces in the context of the modern business organization have been studied with specific reference to international Human Resource Management (HRM) practices. HRM according to Armstrong "is the strategic and coherent approach to the management of an organization's most valued assets - the people working there who individually and collectively contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the business" (Armstrong, 2006). HRM involves such tasks as recruitment, training & development (T&D) of skills, employee relations, retention and motivation strategies, workplace culture and delegation of power, authority and responsibility. Thus a far more strategic significance is assumed by its country-specific and organization-specific contexts than any other dimension.Business organizations operate in their respective environments as determined by organizational structure, culture, leadership style, strategic competitive environment and a host of other internal and exte rnal influences such as the regulatory framework (Handy, 1999). Given the degree of influence under these circumstances, each organization adopts its own leadership style with a view to achieving organizational goals such as profits, market share growth, higher share prices, quality improvements, brand loyalty, sustainability and benchmarks. These organizational goals can be divided into short term goals and long term goals. Theoretical and conceptual contingency model-based convergence/divergence approach to Human Resource Management (HRM) policies and initiatives has received greater attention in the current period due to highly articulate employee retention strategies at the individual firm level. Thus the model building effort in this analysis is based on the available literature on the subject at a global level along. In other words an HRM contingency model is a near approximation of an otherwise intractable continuum which lacks definable contours and a logical conceptual framework of reference. While theoretical constructs underlying this approach have been presented as a uniform analysis there is very little attention being focused on the qualitative paradigm shift caused by the a priori and a posteriori catalytic changes. Thus the qualitative shift in this study is essentially based on these outcomes and the latest calibrations and/or benchmarks enunciated by
Thursday, January 30, 2020
Catholic Church and UltimaÃ¢â¬â¢s mystical folklore Essay The novel Ã¢â¬Å"Bless Me, UltimaÃ¢â¬ by Rudolfo Anaya is pastoral, apocalyptic and, at the same time, tragic story revealing the complex nature of human relations and ambiguity of the world. The novel teaches readers not to interfere with the destiny of any person not to change the cosmic order. However, Ultima dares to influence the destiny and her death at the end of the novel is symbolical representation that every person should be responsible for his own actions. The author describes relations between an old healer Ultima and a young boy Antonio who is seeking for truth. The novel can be defined as apocalyptic as the author illustrates that biculturalism leads to inevitable conflict between cultures and religions. I think that the novel belongs to Chicano literature being rather popular in 1965-1975s. However, it can be seen as cultural novel which tends to explore self-development, personality and ethnic identity in the world filled with race and ethnic discrimination. The novel is rich narrative weaving many themes and sub-themes together allowing readers for different interpretations. Therefore, the objectives of the paper are to analyze authorÃ¢â¬â¢s writing style, relations between Antonio and Ultima, to identify main themes and symbols, and to discuss the question of autobiography. Ã¢â¬Å"Bless Me, UltimaÃ¢â¬ : Analysis I think that the novel Ã¢â¬Å"Bless Me, UltimaÃ¢â¬ can be analyzed from different perspectives and from many angles. The novel is a rich literary work dealing with social changes, cognitive and psychological development of main heroes, religious issues, etc. Moreover, the novel weaves cultural conflicts and formation of ethnic identity into believable and coherent story illustrating the smoothes and roughs of AntonioÃ¢â¬â¢s life Ã¢â¬â the main hero. On the one hand, the novel can be seen as romance novel as it discusses societal period through myth creation. On the other hand, the novel can be seen as cultural novel as it describes historical conflict between villages and opposes race discrimination in the United States. Furthermore, the novel can be defined as Chicano literature as it promotes apocalyptic ideas and moods. The novel presents fertile background for analysis as the author uses rich themes and symbols to show the life pass of a young extraordinary boy. Writing Style The author incorporates powerful and vivid images to present the multiplicity and ambiguity of responses. In other words, Anaya uses prophetic dreams, episodes of horseplay among children, idyllic scenes presenting harmony and natural balance, mystical dynamism, scenes of violence and death as imagery to create strong impression and to make people think whether the world we see is real one and what the destiny of the person is. However, the novel tends to reveal whether it is permissible to change human destiny. Anaya uses strong imagery to show that characters and nature are strongly tied together creating so-called natural continuum. Anaya refers to technique of oppression when writing the novel in order to create multi-level conflict. For example, AntonioÃ¢â¬â¢s parents have opposing backgrounds, views and aspirations. Further, religious are opposed in their beliefs, values and demands on the individual. Cosmic forced are apposed as they symbolize eternal struggle between the good and the evil. Finally, the author juxtaposes forms of nature saying they can choose whether to make soil dry or fertile. The novel is based on conflicts Ã¢â¬â social, psychological, physical and cultural. AntonioÃ¢â¬â¢s life is also a conflict. The novel is also based on tripartites. It means that all evens and things are occurring in so-called Ã¢â¬ËthreesÃ¢â¬â¢. For example, there are three cultures in the novel, three Trementina sisters, three brothers, three Comanche spirits, three prophetic dreams, three UltimaÃ¢â¬â¢s efforts to identify her ethnicity, and three UltimaÃ¢â¬â¢s interference in the life of other people. Numerology is central in structure of the plot. Issue of Autobiography I think that Ã¢â¬Å"bless Me, UltimaÃ¢â¬ can be defined as quasi-autobiographical novel as the narrator refers to Ã¢â¬ËIÃ¢â¬â¢ style showing that the novel is generated from personal experience or experience of the younger Ã¢â¬ËIÃ¢â¬â¢. The novel is told by mature Antonio who shares experiences of being a young boy. Moreover, the experiences are transmitted in childish manner and it may seem that the story is told by a six-year-old boy. One more interesting fact is that the author says that he had to refer to his personal experiences and experiences of other children to construct the story. Despite the fact that the novel is quasi-biographical, the readers arenÃ¢â¬â¢t allowed to distinguish the real and imagined events as the author represents everything as fiction. I think that the author does base the story on rich expository of personal experiences, but he skillfully hides this fact. Relations between Antonio and Ultima Antonio is the main hero in the novel who decided to reconcile his conflicting religious and cultural identity. Antonio is only six years old, but he is extraordinary child with questioning mind, appreciation of life, and moral curiosity. Antonio is more serious than other children of his age, he is more sensitive to ambiguity of the world and conflicting cultural traditions. Anaya shows that Antonio is troubled about his uncertain destiny and he is willing to understand the world. After the death of one of the townÃ¢â¬â¢s residents Antonio seems to plunge into crisis of the faith and for the first time he doubts validity of the Catholic faith. Therefore, desire to reveal the truth can be defined as one of the strongest components of his character as his desire leads to interest in sin, death, innocence, and the nature of God. Antonio is developing to maturity throughout the novel progression and it is Ultima who teaches how to remain morally independent, to receive knowledge from all available traditions and to refrain from prejudices and limitations. Ultima leads Antonio to his physical and psychological maturity. Ultima helps him to resolve many conflicts and to determine his future. Old healer Ultima represents the moral system which Anaya supports. Relationships between Antonio and Ultima are the most important bond in the novel. Ultima is AntonioÃ¢â¬â¢s mentor helping him to overcome difficulties and to cope with anxieties and uncertainties. Relations between main characters can be defined even as spiritual. Ultima presents herself as the keeper of AntonioÃ¢â¬â¢s destiny and starts playing central role in his life and psyche. She uses her power of influencing to make Antonio think of himself and create his own sense of morality. Ultima incorporates knowledge of both Catholic and indigenous traditions. She thinks that spirituality and life are tied. Nevertheless, we see that Catholic Church rejects her mystical power, and Ultima respects its wisdom attending mass regularly. Ultima teaches to appreciate equally multiple faith and perspectives as each person is entailed with rights to make independent moral decisions. Ultima instills tolerance, open-mindedness and independence in AntonioÃ¢â¬â¢s faith. Ultima treats Antonio with respect and understanding, despite he is a small child. At the end of the novel Antonio is treated as spiritual partner and Ultima asks to bury the owl which symbolizes her own death. Ultima dies, but her spirit continues to guide Antonio throughout his life. Main Themes Firstly, the author stresses the importance of moral independence as no one has the rights to interfere with the destiny of others. Anaya emphasizes rights to think independently and to make up moral decisions. In the novel AntonioÃ¢â¬â¢s progress is the sign of maturity and self-development. Antonio constantly struggles to make his own decisions and he realizes that complex experience of religion has forced to change his minds. Antonio is really frustrated when he realizes that the church has failed and pressing questions about human morality emerge in his head. We see that Ultima becomes his guide and teaches about morality and independence. Moreover, Ultima explains ambiguity of life stressing that life can be viewed simply in terms of culture and religion. Cultural and religious traditions are important, but they constrain human abilities to be morally independent. Antonio realizes that he should find answers about evil, good, soul, forgiveness and truth himself. Once Antonio has committed fatal mistake, when he believed that the Communion ritual was able to answer all questions. Instead, Ultima teaches Antonio to make decisions and choices himself. Secondly, the author identifies the influence of culture on identity. In the novel Anaya explores the conflict between cultural traditions which fail to co-exist as one culture tends to dominate others and vice verse. However, in the end we see that the author offers new solution Ã¢â¬â he argues that several cultural traditions are able to create more adaptable identity. For example, Antonio manages to find answers as his life has been influenced by several constantly conflicting cultures. The first conflict was with his parents as AntonioÃ¢â¬â¢s mother wanted him to become a priest, whereas his fathers wanted Antonio to ride the llano. The problem was that parents had different cultural convictions. The next conflict is observed within AntonioÃ¢â¬â¢s native town where Spanish culture is struggling with other culture. The conflict is presented in tensions between the Catholic Church and UltimaÃ¢â¬â¢s mystical folklore. I think that through such conflicts the author explores the influence of culture on identity formation. Anaya shows that many characters in the story are limited by cultural prejudices and they have failed to look beyond their horizon. For example, when people define Narciso as drunkard they didnÃ¢â¬â¢t consider his traumatic experiences in the war, although it is known that war may serious distort human psyche. Ultima teaches Antonio to become free from cultural and religious limitations. Instead, she tends to encourage Antonio to think of all cultural influences as it is the only way to become a descent person. Symbolism Ã¢â¬Å"Bless Me, UltimaÃ¢â¬ is highly symbolical novel. The author uses different colors, figures, numbers and objects to represent abstract ideas and concepts. In the novel the golden carp, UltimaÃ¢â¬â¢s owl and the virgin of Guadalupe are provided with symbolic meanings. As for mea, the golden carp is symbolical representation of magical religious order which is hardly associated with Catholicism. The legend about golden carp offers main characters and readers moral guidance, brand of wisdom and comfort. Golden carp supports authorÃ¢â¬â¢s idea that cultural traditions are different, but they are equally valid. Antonio firstly rejects the golden carp as he thinks that in such a way he abandons God. However, later he realizes that golden carp can help to weave cultural and religious sources together in creating his won identity. Then, UltimaÃ¢â¬â¢s Owl represents religious mysticism and life force. One night the owl sings outside AntonioÃ¢â¬â¢s windows symbolizing UltimaÃ¢â¬â¢s presence in boyÃ¢â¬â¢s life. Moreover, owl is the symbol of protective power of magic. In the end of the novel killing of the bird symbolically represents that UltimaÃ¢â¬â¢s life force is destroyed and she will die soon. When Antonio buries the bird, he buries Ultima. Finally, the Virgin of Guadalupe represents symbolically understanding, forgiveness and solution of cultural conflict. The story of the Virgin is definitely reconciliation of AntonioÃ¢â¬â¢s indigenous culture and European Catholic Church. When Antonio is frustrated, he often turns to Virgin to find a forgiving god. Conclusion Ã¢â¬Å"Bless Me, UltimaÃ¢â¬ reveals the ambiguous nature of the world and human relations. The author shows that every person has to make independent choices and to appreciate different religious and cultural traditions as it is the only way to become a better person. Ultima teaches Antonio to create his own sense of morality and to remain independent person. Moreover, she teaches him to avoid prejudices and limitation. But the author shows that no one is allowed to interfere with the destiny of other people. Works Cited Anaya, Rudolfo. Bless Me, Ultima. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 1994.
Wednesday, January 22, 2020
I Am Norman Rockwell Two weeks ago my family and I walked the three miles from Michigan Avenue in Chicago up to the Historical Society to see the Norman Rockwell show. I've been thinking about it ever since: Although the week before had been unseasonably warm and the trees budding, this day was in the 20's and a cold wind was blowing straight from the north, the direction we were walking. My family walked north through the cleaned up Rush street where my wife had secretly gone during high school looking for a safe kind of danger. There were ghosts of buildings no longer there: Gino's Pizza, the Jazz Showcase, and more. Just down Wabash my father, more than 20 years ago had taken me to Jim Diamond's steakhouse and bought me my first glass of wine, lying about my age. It's gone too, like my father. I was overcome with the tyranny of signs, in particular, Peirce's triadic model of representamen, object, and interpretant. Seamus Heaney writes about the ghost of a tree cut down when he was a boy, and says that this space has come to represent his umphalous, his world center. The empty or replaced buildings were ghosts mostly not of the dead but of the living, of the living who had moved on and changed. But the signs, the private set of signs my wife and I knew were there. I used to think that Peirce was talking about the physical presence of a representamen, a stop sign in the most used example, or a stone wall, or a river. I know now that when Chandler in his explanation of Peirce says cryptically a representamen is the form the sign takes and is not necessarily material. What does this have to do with
Tuesday, January 14, 2020
Running head: BEST PRACTICES OF MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS Mergers and Acquisitions: Best Practices for Success Abstract Mergers and acquisitions have become a growing trend for companies to inorganically grow a business within its particular industry. There are many goals that companies may be looking to achieve by doing this, but the main reason is to guarantee long-term and profitable growth for their business. Companies have to keep up with a rapidly increasing global market and increased competition. With the struggle for competitive advantage becoming stronger and stronger, it is almost essential to achieve these mergers. Through research I will attempt to dissect the best practices for achieving merger success. Mergers and Acquisitions: Best Practices for Success When companies are acquired or merged, people almost immediately start to focus on the differences in the companies. They also begin to pay attention to who are the winners and who are the losers. It is typical in an acquisition for the acquiring company to see itself as the winner, and the acquired company as the loser. The controlling company wants to impose changes and view those in the acquired company as highly resistant to change. It is clear that most mergers and acquisitions are primarily based on strategic, financial, or other objectives. However, ignoring a potential mismatch of people and cultures can lead to strategic and financial failure. In most mergers, serious consideration should be given to cultural and leadership style differences. The success of a merger or acquisition can be defined as the creation of synergy. But every merger and acquisition is a unique event, occurring in a unique environment that is subject to various influences. Analyzing a merger should begin by understanding the culture and core values of the business that is being acquired. Ashkenas, DeMonaco, and Francis (1998) observed that Ã¢â¬Å". . . it is increasingly important that executives learn how to manage the integration of acquisitions as a replicable process and not as a one time only eventÃ¢â¬ (p. 166). DiGeorgio (2002) has researched this topic extensively through the mergers and acquisitions of Cisco and GE Capital. Cisco approaches mergers by Ã¢â¬Å". . . (a) doing [its] homework to select the right companies and (b) applying an effective reliable integration process once the deal is struckÃ¢â¬ (DiGeorgio, 2002, p. 138). Cisco has in the past turned down deals with companies which did not fit within its strategy. Cisco looks at deals from the following perspective (DiGeorgio, 2002): 1. Are our visions basically the same? 2. Can we produce quick wins for shareholders? 3. Can we produce long-term wins for all four constituencies Ã¢â¬â shareholders, customers, employees, and partners? 4. Is the chemistry right? 5. For large M&A, is there geographic proximity? (p. 138) GE Capital, on the other hand takes a more process-based approach to handling mergers. Since GE has performed plenty of mergers and it learns and grows from each one. The crux of its process is Ã¢â¬Å"[g]etting the right integration leader [which] constitutes 95 per cent of the success of an integrationÃ¢â¬ (DiGeorgio, 2003, p. 139). This study highlights the importance of being proactive in pre-merger planning and offers advice to help ensure that the merger process will be a success. Within this paper, I plan to discuss the best practices companies can use to ensure a successful merger. These practices include timely merger planning, choosing the right leadership, focusing on corporate culture, communicating effectively, and engaging the staff, human resources, and middle management. Timely Merger Planning There is a lot of time and effort spent on finding good merger candidates and courting them only to fall through on the follow-up integration activities. As soon as serious discussions begin with a potential merger candidate, the integration planning efforts should begin. It is essential that acquisitions be assimilated into the parent as quickly and as smoothly as possible to minimize any losses in productivity and maximize opportunities between the two organizations. Ã¢â¬Å"There is good agreement that the first 100 days after a merger change set the tone, signal the troops about the real direction of the organization and its vitalityÃ¢â¬ (DiGeorgio, 2003,p. 266) A slow integration process can actually worsen problems. Merger integration should not be treated as an after-thought. It is something that needs to be addressed uring the merger search and negotiations phase while there is time to minimize any negative impacts. Choosing the Right Leadership Choosing the right leadership, not only for the merger integrations, but also for the new combined company is important in terms of vision, mission, culture, and expectations. A leader should focus on the larger design of the new corporation. A leader has to resist the temptation to take the easy way out. It is not pleasant to deliver bad news or to be a naysayer, but it is necessary at times. It is also important for a leader to promote and ensure good morale. This starts with treating people with respect and listening to their opinions, rather than telling them what to do. Ã¢â¬Å"Leaders set the tone for the culture and for how relationships are going to unfold in the combined organizationÃ¢â¬ (DiGeorgio, 2003, p. 260). Effective working relationships and increased trust developed among the senior executives will carry throughout the organization as a model of how the newly integrated organization will work. Senior executives need to establish the cultural rules of engagement in the new entity quickly and effectively. Company leaders should strive to provide as much transparency as possible to decision making and address employee concerns such as changes to roles and responsibilities, compensation and employee benefits as promptly and practical as can be performed. Ã¢â¬Å"Integration management is a full-time job and needs to be recognized as a distinct business function. . . Ã¢â¬ (Ashkenas et al. , 1998, p. 169). The role of the transition merger leader cannot be taken lightly. This person must make critical personnel, process, and structural decisions quickly. This role requires the mental tenacity to endure long meetings, tough questions, and low morale. The G. E. Pathfinder model as presented by Stopper (1999) suggests that it find an integration leader to direct these merger activities and get the necessary results done to have a successful integration. Stopper (1999) also suggests a few other skills and qualifications necessary to look for in this person which include experience in project planning and management, communication planning and implementation, expertise specific to acquisitions, and corporate culture familiarity. Research by Ashkenas (1998), on the other hand, believes a merger leader should have ability to facilitate integration activities, to help the acquired business understand processes of the new company, and to help his or her company understand the business that is being acquired. Leadership also needs to be held accountable for the success of the merger (DiGeorgio, 2002). The leader should have a sense of purpose and responsibility not only for his or her job but also for the company as well as the employees who work there. When leaders donÃ¢â¬â¢t exhibit this accountability, they can take a nonchalant attitude which can hinder any progress which has been made. Ensuring the appropriate leadership is in place from the start will present a successful blueprint for the outcome of the merger or acquisition. Focusing on Corporate Culture When companies merge there can be a clash of cultures, conflicting beliefs, and different norms. Organizational culture is important because it has been shown to have a significant impact on organizational performance. Cultures that support the missions, goals, and strategies of an organization provide a means for dealing with change and conflicts when they arise. Ã¢â¬Å"Cultural integration is ignored in the majority of business combinationsÃ¢â¬ (Pekala, 2001, p. 32). Research has shown that because of cultural aspects, mergers often encounter difficulties in achieving the goals of the merger. While due diligence is performed on all of the financial aspects of a merger, one major reason that so many mergers fail is a lack of Ã¢â¬Å"cultural fitÃ¢â¬ (DiGeorgio, 2003, p. 259). Understanding how things are seen in the other cultures, learning mutual respect, and being open to exploring different points of view are the keys to the people factor in any merger or acquisition. Ã¢â¬Å"A sound M&A integration strategic plan is as cultural as it is structural and entails both the welding of hard assets and a delicate/neurosurgery of mindsÃ¢â¬ (Brahy, 2006, p. 54). Corporate culture tends to be viewed as a company having casual Fridays or working alternate work schedules. However, it runs deeper than the external characteristics. Pekala (2001) suggests that Ã¢â¬Å"merger partners need to zero in on the basic ways that decisions get made in their companies and how different approaches can be combined in harmonyÃ¢â¬ (p. 32). The organizationÃ¢â¬â¢s culture is simply how things are done in the organization. It could be as simple as putting the customer first or driving for excellence in safety. The challenges encountered when merging two different cultures are that either one or the other (or both) needs to change. The issue, then, becomes not just culture awareness, but culture Ã¢â¬Å"change managementÃ¢â¬ (LaMarsh, 2006, p. 9) during the integration period. Building a new culture that combines the best of both previous cultures makes the new organization better, stronger, and more competitive than either of the organizations can be on its own. One way to build a new culture is by having representatives from both companies or organizations list the principles that currently guide its behavior and attitu des. Once this has been captured, both groups can then combine their efforts into a discussion of what type of cultural behavior is necessary to ensure that the best of both worlds is fairly represented. Brahy (2006) even suggest the acquiring company learn another language to help the merging companies feel more at ease and are accepting of their individual culture and traditions. Top management, however, must support this new combined culture. Management cannot force people to work together to build a new culture. As DiGeorgio (2003) notes Ã¢â¬Å"leaders set the tone for the culture and for how relationships are going to unfold in the combined organizationÃ¢â¬ (p. 260). Control over the new corporate culture is critical to the success of a merger. Achieving cultural synergy is possible, but it takes work and effort especially on the side of leadership. Communicating Effectively Communication plays a very critical role at the time of a merger. Communicating with the employees is very important as they should not feel that they have been kept in the dark. It should be remembered that they are the most important assets of an organization and also major stakeholders. Most people understand that mergers and acquisitions take place for business reasons. But it is important to communicate the specific reasons and benefits of the merger. People may not like it, but if they see that it has a legitimate purpose, and the benefits are clear, then there is less resentment and employees are more likely to accept it. Mergers and acquisitions breed uncertainty, ambiguity, and fear among employees. Rumors often begin in organizations before the announcement of any impending merger is formally announced. Ã¢â¬Å". . . Trying to hide bad news such as layoffs by not revealing further details . . can damage morale and lead to turnoverÃ¢â¬ (Messmer, 2006, p. 15). A good communication plan can help avoid complications by ensuring that employees understand the reasons for the deal, the objectives the organization is trying to achieve, and the potential benefits for everyone involved. In mergers and acquisitions, employees typically want answers to the following basic questions: Ã¢â¬ ¢Will I have a job in the new organization? Ã¢â¬ ¢Will my pay, b enefits and work locations change? Ã¢â¬ ¢Will this merger be good for my career? These and other questions must be addressed soon after an announcement is made since productivity can suffer the longer employees have uncertainty. Straightforward, concise, and timely communication assists in building employee commitment and focuses employees on the day-to-day operations of the organization. Ã¢â¬Å". . . Communication minimizes the negative reactions of the acquired employeesÃ¢â¬ (Brahma, 2007, p. 8). The faster employees feel connected to the new organization, the faster they will begin working toward the business objectives and understand what is expected of them. Research shows that organizations using effective communication strategies achieve the best results in productivity and shareholder returns. A good communication strategy is critical to a successful merger or acquisition. A successful plan cannot be reactive but proactive and it has to be included as part of the original merger plans. Nikandrou, Papaleaxandris, and Bourantas (2000) assert that Ã¢â¬Å"frequent communication does not imply that management should communicate every little detail of the process . . . t rather means that management communicates its concerns about employees . . . Ã¢â¬ (p. 336). An effective communication plan must take into account many elements such as the unique needs of various stakeholders, such as managers, employees, investors, customers, suppliers, and surrounding communities, need to be identified and addressed. Successful mergers only happen when upper managers make themselves visible and accessible to all employees affected by the merger. All e mployees need to experience the buy-in and support of their leaders for the merger or acquisition. Leaders need to be prepared to communicate the answers they do have and be open to stating what answers they do not have yet (Terranova, 2006). For leaders and managers to maintain credibility and trust with employees, they must be open and honest in dealing with these problems rather than choosing not to communicate at all. Engaging Staff and Middle Management People issues are often the most sensitive but also overlooked aspects of mergers and acquisitions. Organizations fail to realize that people have the capability to make or break the deal. It is important for organizations to address the viability of the integration on the human resources front. There are key resources within the organization that can help in handling people issues namely the employees, human resources, and middle management. Frequently there are a lot of people who get overlooked in the acquisition process; specifically lower-level employees who may be able to offer valuable input. They are the people who produce the profits, represent the company, and, ultimately, are the ones that will make the combined company succeed. Proactively engaging the employees can cultivate change agents for the acquisition making the entire process more desirable for all parties involved. Ã¢â¬Å"Managing change is a systematic process that requires moving through a series of action steps to predict and address the risk caused by potential resistanceÃ¢â¬ (LaMarsh, 2006, p. 59). The best way for leadership to actively involve employees is to engage in active feedback sessions. This could involve setting up meetings with key people from various groups in the organizations and soliciting feedback from them (Messmer, 2006). Another suggestion could be to set up a website answer board where employees can ask the integration team or top management questions anonymously and view answers to other questions that have been proposed. Retaining and motivating employees is a major challenge for the human resource department of organizations. Actively engaging human resources early in the process can ensure merger success. Human resource leaders can play a key role in helping senior management identify, involve, and assess the key executives and other critical talent who will be vital for the success of the new business. Human resources can help facilitate employee question and answer meetings and are the most knowledgeable about current policies and procedures. Human resource skills are essential for the facilitation and negotiation processes regarding combining pay and benefits. Human Resource skills are also needed for supporting, counseling, and coaching line managers, who have to supervise their functions during very difficult times. Middle management also plays an important role in ensuring the success of a merger or acquisition. Communications with the middle managers will help to not only alm their fears and concerns but also help them understand what is in store for them. If middle managers are not kept in the information loop, it can lead to false information getting out that could damage morale as well as increase turnover. They need to fully understand the benefits not only to the organization but also to them as individuals. Once concerns have been dealt with, middle managers should be h eld accountable for implementation of the change. Without this accountability, they ultimately will not have a desire to change their behavior. Middle managers should become a positive part of the change process and they should not feel as if it is another program or process that is being forced upon them. Middle managers are the leaders that lower-level employees will look to for timely, accurate information. If approval of the merger is given at this level, then those under them will more than likely not give their approval either. Conclusion Several important lessons have been learned from the merger research conducted throughout this paper. When a merging with another company, managers should be focused on uniting the two companies as quickly as possible. Management should also be aware of the importance of starting the integration planning as soon as a definitive merger candidate is determined. Another important aspect of the merger process is a commitment to change on the part of leadership. Management needs to assign appropriate leadership resources to complete the transition successfully. Communication is also very critical even when there is nothing new to say. It is impossible to over-communicate throughout the merger process. Employees have an almost insatiable desire for information, and misinterpretation of silence and rumors are very common. Mergers are seen as a way to solve problems but it also creates a new set of problems as well as opportunities. Success in mergers and acquisitions rests not only on good strategic and financial planning, but also in the analysis of people issues. Making mergers work successfully is a complicated process which involves not only combining two organizations together but also integrating the people of two organizations with different cultures, attitudes, and mindsets. To ensure success in mergers and acquisitions there needs to be timely merger planning, the right leadership, cultural integration, effective communication, and the involvement of staff and middle management. References Ashkenas, R. , DeMonaco, L. , & Francis, S. (1998). Making the Deal Real: How GE Capital Integrates Acquisitions. Harvard Business Review, 76(1), 165-178. Badrtalei, J. , & Bates, D. (2007). Effect of Organizational Cultures on Mergers and Acquisitions: The Case of Daimler Chrysler. 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