Business Professor’s Mergers Research Garners National Attention

Theresa Floyd

Jan. 11, 2019

Few events in the professional life of an employee are as stressful as when the business they work for is acquired or merges with another company. New University of Montana research gives companies science-based direction on how to help employees navigate the uncertain time after a merger.  

“Employees’ uncertainty regarding how the merger is going to impact their job security and daily routines can disrupt their job satisfaction and make them more likely to leave. When high-value employees choose to leave, it can have a negative impact on the success of the merger and the organization as a whole,” said Theresa Floyd, assistant professor of management in the College of Business who conducted the research with colleagues from five partner institutions.

The research recently appeared on the website of Thrive Global, a company founded by media magnate Arianna Huffington that provides resources to companies and individuals that help mitigate burnout and enhance well-being. The Journal of Applied Psychology originally published the study in its March 2017 issue. The article was nominated for the Best Paper Award at the 2018 Academy of Management Annual Meeting.

The investigators studied how employees’ reactions to the merger of two large American companies impacted their attachment to the company over the subsequent year. They found that individual professional concerns on topics such as job security, job role, and compensation, impacted employees’ attachment to the new organization.  

If top management intends to maintain valuable employees, the researchers found, they must go beyond providing company-wide videos and announcements to communicate the merger’s importance. Post-merger activities should include individualized sessions in which employees have the opportunity to resolve their own personal concerns.

“We found that employees need personal discussions with their immediate supervisors in order to be reassured about their role and responsibilities in the newly-created company. Without this reassurance, they are more likely to leave,” Floyd said.

Floyd’s research interests include social network theory and analysis in business and environmental governance contexts, social cognition, social influence, and the effects of organizational change on organizational identification and attachment. She is particularly interested in how psychological processes operate within social networks.

Prior to joining academia, she worked in retail merchandising for industry giants such as Gap and PetSmart. 

Visit the Thrive Global website to learn more about Floyd’s work.