Mergers and partnerships
Mergers and partnerships have the potential to transform effectiveness and efficiency

Transforming effectiveness

Mergers and partnerships have the potential to transform effectiveness and efficiency in service and product delivery. Whilst commercial mergers and acquisitions peaked in 2008, they are still running at a rate of 1,600 per year in the UK alone, and likely to continue in the current economic climate.

Many organisations have witnessed and experienced the outsourcing of services to other parts of the world, and the integration of services internally. In the public sector the UK government has been encouraging Local Authorities to develop partnerships for service delivery, and recently asked the NHS to reduce by merger the 300 Primary Care Trusts down to 150 trusts, and to reduce 29 Ambulance Trusts down to 12 new bodies.

Do they deliver?

Do these mergers and partnerships deliver what is expected of them? For mergers the short answer is ‘yes, sort of', in as much as they do cut costs, but often the output is well below expectations. With partnerships we have a long way to go.  A huge amount of effort is put in at the start and then the process subsequently falters and often dies. The most common reason cited for these disappointments is the differences between the cultures of the 'legacy' bodies. We're not just talking about national cultures here, but also differences in business and professional cultures.

Whilst attention gets put into the ‘hard' merger issues such as the rationalisation of office accommodation or which IT system to use, very little is done to manage the dynamics of merging different cultures. More often this is left to ‘good sense', or hoping that people will ‘sort it out'.

What people are being asked to ‘sort out' here is a dynamic that occurs when two cultures meet that reflects the struggles for dominance in the commercial market place, or the competition for resources in the public sector. This is an unhelpful dynamic for the newly merged organisation, or partnership, and needs to be ‘unstuck' if the potential benefits are to be realised. 

Our partners

We have been working in partnership with Barry Oshry, Bath Consultancy Group and Living Leadership to provide workshop events and  consultancy that do this ‘unsticking', to enable two or more cultures to work together in a way that is more robust and successful than the individual efforts of the 'legacy' partners.