Dissertation: Collaboration is the way to approach uncertainties in mergers and acquisitions

Sniazhana Sniazhko
According to Sniazhana Sniazhko’s doctoral dissertation, the management of uncertainties in the post-acquisition integration is a balancing act between establishing control and giving autonomy, which is achieved through active collaboration among integration managers.

In her dissertation, Sniazhko has explored the types of uncertainty in the context of cross-border mergers and acquisitions (IM&A) and analyzed how managers responsible for the post-acquisition integration process perceive and manage uncertainties.

– IM&A are complex and highly uncertain processes that often involve stress, job loss, restructured responsibilities and derailed careers. The key to the success of these deals and indeed of the company largely depends on coordinated leadership throughout the post-acquisition integration process, says Sniazhko.

She will publicly defend her doctoral dissertation at the University of Vaasa on Friday, 12 November 2021.

Mission impossible?

Despite the practical significance of integration managers, many companies do not provide their integration managers with any formal training. The work of integration managers is largely unsupervised in the traditional sense.

– Integration managers face a range of different uncertainties that they are not usually trained for. For example, integration managers might be appointed to lead the integration without a clear designation of their roles as integration managers and without clear understanding of what was expected from them, tells Sniazhko.

Simultaneously, integration managers might experience the pressure of having too many responsibilities and, thus, the allocation of their resources and attention to all these roles may constitute a source of stress and pressure.

Furthermore, integration managers must be prepared to make integration related decisions without knowing the future strategy of the new organization. This decision-making process is likely to be accompanied by a lack of clear understanding of organizational culture practices in the organization of the integrating partner, and further likely to be replenished with integration managers’ uncertainties related to their own position and the position of subordinates in a new organization.

How to manage uncertainty?

Along with the traditional way to manage uncertainty by reducing it and establishing control over the integration, Sniazhko also recognizes that integration managers tend to manage uncertainty by coping with it and exploring new opportunities that uncertainty might bring.

The application of these uncertainty management methods depends on the amount and types of uncertainty that integration managers perceive.

Still, the balancing of these methods is considered to be the ultimate goal through which the balance between control and autonomy is achieved. To achieve this balance, integration managers should consider the costs and benefits of reducing, sustaining and increasing uncertainty in the integration process.

– To operate successfully, and not just survive in times of change, integration managers will benefit more from actively trying out different uncertainty management methods, says Sniazhko.

– Still, integration managers need to make tough decisions and manage various tensions, as they grapple with managing uncertainty. Post-acquisition integration requires good knowledge of how various parts of the merging firms work together. Constructing a big picture might be problematic for integration managers. Hence, continuous collaboration with other integration managers becomes an essential need.

In the light of the current record highs and transaction volumes in the IM&A industry, the information about uncertainty management methods in the post-acquisition integration process becomes particularly valuable in understanding how to create an incremental value of the deal.   

In the three essays of the dissertation, Sniazhko has used several research methods. In addition to the literature review, she conducted a case study with 20 in-depth interviews with 18 integration managers from two Nordic multinational corporations.

Public defence

The public examination of Sniazhana Sniazhko’s doctoral dissertation “Uncertainty Management of Integration Managers in MNCs during Post-Acquisition Integration” will be held on Friday 12 November at 12:15. The public examination will be organized online: https://uwasa.zoom.us/j/65798592675?pwd=L0FGdE1IcWhMa2Q1bmRDU2N2dExjUT09 Password: 347759

The field of dissertation is International Business. Professor Satu Teerikangas (University of Turku, Finland) will act as an opponent and Professor Adam Smale as custos. The examination will be held in English.

Doctoral dissertation

Sniazhko, Sniazhana (2021) Uncertainty Management of Integration Managers in MNCs during Post-Acquisition Integration. Acta Wasaensia 466. Doctoral Dissertation. University of Vaasa

Publication pdf http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-476-981-5

Further Information

Sniazhana Sniazhko, tel +358 458 605 919, email: ssniazhk@uwasa.fi

Sniazhana Sniazhko is from Belarus, where she was born in 1988. Today, Sniazhana lives in Lahti, Finland. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from LCC International University in Lithuania (2009) and a master’s degree in international business from the University of Vaasa in Finland (2011).

In her career, she has worked as an industry analyst and entrepreneur. At the moment she is teaching in a number of courses for master students at the University of Vaasa.   

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