Buyer Beware

Corporate Culture and the effect on Mergers and Acquisitions

Definition of Culture:  “It’s how we do things around here”

A board colleague recently sent me an excellent article talking about the importance of corporate culture and ESG – and its particular relevance to dealmakers.

If we think about culture as “the way things get done in an organization,” then it becomes clear that many of the risk factors that can undermine an acquisition are derived from its culture.
Acquirers want to know—among many other things—that the workplace environment isn’t toxic, because they want to keep the best people. They want to know that the management team will behave responsibly around environmental issues. They want to know that transactions are dealt with in an above-board manner.


But the five experts quoted in the article all struggled with the question of “how to measure and shift corporate culture.” This is not an impossibility.
There is a globally recognized, cost-effective, comprehensive, fast and straightforward means to do so: The Barrett Values Assessment.
The tool provides a way of measuring and managing the cultural aspects of an organisation as rigorously as one would manage its finances. The results can be obtained in a week or two following the survey (which extends to ALL employees, and whose results can be broken down by division, job profile, geography, etc.). The insights can generate deep meaningful conversations about the purpose and strategy of the organization and the well-being of all stakeholders.
We use Barrett as a starting point in all our culture transformation work, but it can be equally powerful in helping to determine the risk (or opportunity) associated with the culture of the company to be acquired.

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