This study examines the effect of individual organizational members' resolution of inter-unit conflict on post-merger organizational integration. I propose that "problem solving" and "avoiding" methods of conflict resolution have positive and negative effects on post-merger organizational integration, respectively, and the relationships are moderated by the frequency of conflict and trust.
Hypotheses were tested using annual surveys of employees in 51 clinics of a large American healthcare system. The clinics were acquired and had been merged in 1994-1996 by the system. The annual survey was administrated three times in 1997, 1998, and 1999. The results showed the expected negative effect of "avoiding" on organizational integration, but suggested an unexpected negative relationship between "problem solving" and integration. Furthermore, I found that the frequency of conflict had a significant moderating effect on the negative relationship between "avoiding" and integration. Consistent with my prediction, when the frequency of conflict was high, the negative effects of "avoiding" became weaker, suggesting that "avoiding" may be beneficial in situations in which organizational members were engaged in many conflicts. The data did not show any significant moderating effects of trust on the relationships between conflict resolution and integration. Post hoc analyses suggested that trust does play an important role, but its role is a mediating rather than a moderating factor.
This study empirically shows the importance of conflict and conflict resolution in managing post-merger organizational integration. This research intends to contribute to both the research on organizational mergers and the literature of conflict resolution.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. October 2011. Major: Business Administration. Advisor: Andrew H. Van de Ven. 1 computer file (PDF) vi, 87 pages, appendix p. 70-87.
Inter-unit conflict, conflict resolution methods, and post-merger organizational integration in healthcare organizations..
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