5 Ways Knowledge Management Can Impact a Merger or Acquisition

Cindy Hubert's picture

I must admit that I’m jumping on the band wagon of people reacting to and commenting on the merger of Microsoft and LinkedIn. I immediately thought about some work that APQC and one of our past Knowledge Management (KM) Advanced Working Groups did that was focused on the role of KM during a merger or acquisition. I trust that there has been much work done around the “bringing together” of these two organizations and I HOPE that what each organization “knows” is not lost in the shuffle. 

We all know that when two firms are fused together to create a larger integrated enterprise, a plethora of logistical and cultural issues emerge. Organizational structures and hierarchies must be combined, processes must be redefined, and a large number of employees must be re-on boarded and connected. And all this must be accomplished as quickly as possible so that the new, larger organization can start to realize the business benefits that the merger or acquisition was designed to achieve. 

Here are some things we’ve learned about how a knowledge management leader can impact mergers and acquisitions. The opportunity is to forge links between members of the new and legacy work forces and ensure that new employees are assimilated into the larger organization.

  1. Introduce—Knowledge managers can leverage their broad understanding of the enterprise to make introductions and forge relationships between key personnel.
  2. Connect—Knowledge managers can set the stage for integration by ensuring that new employees are included in the expertise location system and connected to communication channels as quickly as possible.
  3. Engage—Knowledge managers can facilitate the flow of knowledge by engaging new employees in communities of practice, webinars, and other KM activities.
  4. Integrate—Knowledge managers can supply context for new employees and help them assimilate by providing information and training on organizational history, culture, and values.
  5. Listen—Knowledge managers can listen to new employees, ensure that their concerns are addressed, and publicize the specialized knowledge they bring to the table.

If you’ve been through a merger and/or acquisition, I’d love to hear what you have found works.  And, most importantly, always remember to “just say know!”

You can follow me on Twitter @Chubert_apqc and listen to my latest knowledge management podcast at APQC Podcasts.


Lauren Trees's picture

Great post Cindy! I just want to add that we have a great white paper on this topic available to APQC members, KM as 1st Responder: The Role of Knowledge Management in Mergers and Acquisitions. It's a few years old, but it has great insights and examples from mergers and acquisitions at Baker Hughes, Merck, Rockwell Collins, and Schlumberger.

Lauren Trees, KM Knowledge Specialist, APQC

Anonymous's picture

Great Article Cindy, I find your opinion quite interesting as how KM may impact on the deals of M&A. Thanks for posting.