"Integration" - a polyphonic concept in merging companies
Airi Rovio-Johansson ()
Additional contact information Airi Rovio-Johansson: Gothenburg Research Institute, Postal: Gothenburg Research Institute, School of Economics and Commercial Law, Göteborg University, Box 600, SE 40530 Göteborg, Sweden
In this study a new method for researching the qualitative differences in meaning making of a concept is introduced to clarify how managers in two merger cases differ in the way they make sense of the ongoing process. A discursive perspective is used to focus on the social construction of the meaning of “integration,” a concept frequently used and often taken for granted in national and international post merger and post acquisitions studies. This general problem, how we understand and interpret a word, the concept “integration,” has been studied in the context of two Scandinavian acquisitions. The claim is that several language forms can be used to express the same meaning of a concept as well as the same words can be used to express differing meanings, depending on the actors understanding of the words. The findings illuminate the qualitative differences among managers’ ways of making sense of this concept in four categories of description. It can be argued that the variation in understandings on the one hand is related to the referential aspects, the meaning aspect, and on the other hand to the structural aspects of the concept.