Towards successful mergers ‒ inaugural address by Steffen Giessner

Steffen Giessner, Professor of Organisational Behaviour and Change at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) will deliver his inaugural address Organisational mergers – a behavioural perspective on identity management on 1 April 2016. During his address, Professor Giessner will provide insights into the conditions that enable employees to adjust to organisational changes that happen as a result of organisational mergers.



Steffen Giessner was appointed RSM’s Professor of Organisational Behaviour and Change on 1 March last year, a chair endowed by the Erasmus Trust Fund. His field of study includes human behaviour and adaptation in organisations, and his research involves systematically investigating processes in leadership, identity management, and employees’ change adaptation at individual, team and organisational levels.

More than any other type of organisational change, a merger or acquisition can seriously undermine people’s sense of purpose and commitment to their organisation. In his inaugural address, Professor Steffen Giessner will argue that many organisations underperform in managing the identities of their employees during the process of organisational mergers. As a result, employee motivation and performance is suboptimal, and can often endanger the strategic and financial goals of the merger. Professor Giessner will explain how to avoid this, and how to allow mergers to succeed.

Mergers mean change and thus risk

Organisational mergers are one of the most extreme of any process of organisational change, and often result in employees finding it difficult to adjust to new conditions at work and failing to – or finding it hard to ‒ identify with the ‘new look’ post-merger organisation. As a result, merging organisations experience more conflict, less employee motivation, higher staff turnover and lower staff performance levels. Steffen Giessner will present a view of organisational mergers from the perspective of manager by considering three key aspects: identity processes; intergroup structure; and leadership.

The inaugural address will take place on Friday, 1 April 2016 and is open to the public. The ceremony will start at 16:00 in the Senaatszaal of the Erasmus Building on Woudestein campus, Burgemeester Oudlaan 50 in Rotterdam. A reception will take place at 16:45 in the same building. The event will be livestreamed; please click here to get access.

Watch Steffen Giessner sharing his views on what happens when companies merge in a short video on RSM’s online research platform, RSM Discovery.

More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is ranked among Europe’s leading business schools for education and among the top three for research. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who carry their innovative mindset into a sustainable future thanks to a first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes. RSM also has offices in Chengdu, China and in Taipei, Taiwan. www.rsm.nl

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