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Culture Clash: The Costs and Benefits of Homogeneity

  • Eric Van den Steen

    ()

    (Harvard Business School, Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts 02163)

This paper develops an economic theory of the costs and benefits of corporate culture--in the sense of shared beliefs and values--in order to study the effects of "culture clash" in mergers and acquisitions. I first use a simple analytical framework to show that shared beliefs lead to more delegation, less monitoring, higher utility (or satisfaction), higher execution effort (or motivation), faster coordination, less influence activities, and more communication, but also to less experimentation and less information collection. When two firms that are each internally homogeneous but different from each other merge, the above results translate to specific predictions about how the change in homogeneity will affect firm behavior. This paper's predictions can also serve more in general as a test for the theory of culture as shared beliefs.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1100.1214
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Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

Volume (Year): 56 (2010)
Issue (Month): 10 (October)
Pages: 1718-1738

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Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:56:y:2010:i:10:p:1718-1738
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  1. Guiso, Luigi & Sapienza, Paola & Zingales, Luigi, 2006. "Does Culture Affect Economic Outcomes?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5505, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  6. Mitchell, Mark L & Stafford, Erik, 2000. "Managerial Decisions and Long-Term Stock Price Performance," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 73(3), pages 287-329, July.
  7. Arnoud W. A. Boot & Radhakrishnan Gopalan & Anjan V. Thakor, 2006. "The Entrepreneur's Choice between Private and Public Ownership," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 61(2), pages 803-836, 04.
  8. Muhamet Yildiz, 2004. "Waiting to Persuade," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 223-248.
  9. Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1994. "Formal and Real Authority in Organizations," IDEI Working Papers 37, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  10. Van den Steen, Eric, 2003. "Organizational Beliefs and Managerial Vision," Working papers 4224-01, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  11. Che, Yeon-Koo & Kartik, Navin, 2006. "Opinion as Incentives," MPRA Paper 6094, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 15 Nov 2007.
  12. Paul R. Milgrom & John Roberts, 1985. "Relying on the Information of Interested Parties," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 749, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  13. Carrillo, Juan D. & Gromb, Denis, 1999. "On the strength of corporate cultures," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 1021-1037, April.
  14. Julio J. Rotemberg & Garth Saloner, 1995. "Overt Interfunctional Conflict (and its Reduction Through Business Strategy)," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(4), pages 630-653, Winter.
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  16. Faruk Gul, 1998. "A Comment on Aumann's Bayesian View," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(4), pages 923-928, July.
  17. Wouter Dessein, 2000. "Authority and Communication in Organizations," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1747, Econometric Society.
  18. Jonathan A. Parker & Markus K. Brunnermeier, 2004. "Optimal Expectations," Econometric Society 2004 North American Winter Meetings 426, Econometric Society.
  19. Morris, Stephen, 1994. "Trade with Heterogeneous Prior Beliefs and Asymmetric Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(6), pages 1327-47, November.
  20. Jose A. Scheinkman & Wei Xiong, 2003. "Overconfidence and Speculative Bubbles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(6), pages 1183-1219, December.
  21. Muhamet Yildiz, 2003. "Bargaining without a Common Prior-An Immediate Agreement Theorem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(3), pages 793-811, 05.
  22. John Geanakoplos, 2009. "The Leverage Cycle," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1715, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  23. Augustin Landier & David Thesmar, 2009. "Financial Contracting with Optimistic Entrepreneurs," Post-Print hal-00461106, HAL.
  24. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1990. "The Economics of Modern Manufacturing: Technology, Strategy, and Organization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 511-28, June.
  25. K. J. Arrow, 1964. "The Role of Securities in the Optimal Allocation of Risk-bearing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 31(2), pages 91-96.
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