EFFECTIVE HRD - International Journal of Training and...

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International Journal of Training and Development 6:1 ISSN 1360-3736 HRD involvement in merger and acquisition decisions and strategy development: four organizational portraits Laurel S. Jeris, James R. Johnson and C. Carol Anthony Although the financial and strategic aspects of mergers and acquisitions are well researched, little work has been done on the human resource development implications of this popular topic. The purpose of this case study research project was to explore the timing and scope of HRD involvement in four organizations recently involved in a merger or acquisition, by using three theoretical models as lenses. The results demon- strated that HRD normally was not involved in the initial decision-making to merge or acquire, even though post-deal HRD initiatives, particularly related to change management, were perceived as critical indicators of success. The strategic and financial performance implications of mergers and acquisitions are a popular and well-researched topic within the literatures specific to those interests. However, studies of the point at which strategic human resource development (HRD) issues enter into the decisions to merge, acquire, or be acquired, and the subsequent decisions are not often found in mainstream academic and practitioner journals. In a brief historical recap of merger and acquisition activity, Hitt, Harrison, Ireland and Best (1998) noted that, ‘acquisition activity began to increase in 1992 and 1993 with more dollars invested in acquisitions during 1994, 1995, and 1996 than any previous year’ (p. 91). Lipin (1997), found that in 1996 alone, over $1 trillion was spent on acquisitions globally with $660 billion in the USA. Thomson Financial Securities Data (KPMG, 1999) estimated the annual global merger and acquisitions transactions total at more that $2.2 trillion. These figures represent purchases and stock transfers but do not include the costs of displaced workers, training expenditures, reinvention or Laurel S. Jeris, Northern Illinois University, USA, James R. Johnson, Purdue University Calumet, USA and C. Carol Anthony, WorkLife Learning Systems. Blackwell Publishers Ltd. 2002, 108 Cowley Road, Oxford OX4 1JF, UK and 350 Main St., Malden, MA 02148, USA. 2 International Journal of Training and Development
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total replacement of information systems, or the myriad costs associated with mer- gers and acquisitions that impact any value created by them. Recent memory pro- vides multiple examples of mergers and acquisitions, successful and unsuccessful, attempted and aborted, popular and unpopular. The names are familiar: America On- line and Time-Warner, General Electric and Honeywell, Mercedes Benz and Chrysler, USAir and United Airlines, and AT&T and Comcast. Given the fi nancial magnitude of these decisions and the subsequent effects that mergers and acquisitions have on people s careers, this topic warrants close examination by the HRD research com- munity.
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