Dr. Hurst looks at organizational identity during a merger

Spotlight on SOE faculty research

Dr. Robin Hurst
Dr. Robin Hurst

The amount of knowledge being generated by VCU School of Education faculty in published research goes beyond merely enhancing the school’s reputation – it is helping to shape the future of education itself. One recent example of this is the study below, co-authored by Dr. Robin Hurst, assistant professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning, which looks at the role of organizational identity in acculturation, or the development of a joint organizational culture, during an international merger.


Dr. Robin Hurst and her colleague Priyadarshini Pattath explored the role of organizational identity in acculturation, or the development of a joint organizational culture, during an international merger. 

Hurst and Pattath used a case study in which a 30-year-old family-run business in India was acquired by a 10-year-old American company to explore how the organizational identity of both long-term and short-term employees affects their ability to adapt to the new culture. This case study was also used to focus on the ways in which human resource development (HRD) professionals can capitalize on an individual’s sense of organizational identity to facilitate their adjustment to the new ownership and culture. What they found was that organizational identity was stronger in long-term employees (seven or more years of service) than in short-term employees (three years or less of service). Long-term employees displayed more pride in the organization and a willingness to make adaptations to maintain the reputation of the acquired organization while short-term employees were more concerned with their own job advancement.

The researchers also discovered that both long-term and short-term employees valued training and learning Western ways of operation. However, human resource development professionals were not involved in that process in this merger and, as a result, this lack of HRD involvement caused the acculturation process to take more than five years from the initial acquisition, with some aspects still ongoing.

The study highlights the importance of honoring the identity of the acquired organization as it can help in the acculturation process through focusing on the areas of pride, and relating those areas to the new organization.

Link to full article: https://doi.org/10.1080/13678868.2018.1488487


Hurst, R.R. & Pattath, P. (2019). Organizational Identity in Acculturation in Cross-Border Acquisitions: Implications for HRD Practitioners in Global M&A. Human Resource Development International, 22(1), 44-67. https://doi.org/10.1080/13678868.2018.1488487