An International Acquisition
When a Swedish company with a strong R&D orientation realized that they would have to expand their capabilities into developing Internet products they decided to acquire a small US startup with the capabilities and talent that they required. Originally, it was thought that bringing a senior development manager from Sweden to the US to run the organization was the quickest way to merge the organization into the efforts going on in Sweden. A quick assessment of the views and fears of the acquired organization, however, indicated that the employees were concerned about the leadership they would receive from a foreign company. They were loyal to their current leadership and the leadership was genuinely interested in continuing on with the organization.
So an alternative plan was developed. One which put the burden on the acquired leadership to travel frequently to Sweden, at least initially. They found that their operational management was very generous in introducing them to many of the key technical leaders within the new organization. In addition, a Program Manager from Sweden was installed in a two year assignment with the US company. This helped the new company adjust and integrate with the appropriate company processes, including the new product introduction process, the parts and supply database requirements and the product specification and review procedures.
A consultant was hired to help bring an understanding of the different cultural values and management styles of the two countries. She conducted a two day session with key participants from both organizations. Video conferencing capabilities were added to reduce the travel required for day to day decision making. Three years later there has been virtually no turnover among the technical personnel. The new group is now fully integrated into the company’s processes and the Program Manager has returned to Sweden. A number of young engineers from Sweden have joined the group on two year assignments with a hope that they can return to Sweden as experts themselves with new technical skills to share.
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