The integration of two merging companies remains a tough challenge. Employees who develop social relationships with coworkers from both organizations (we call them boundary spanners) are typically seen as key integrators supporting the post-merger integration process. However, building and maintaining relationships with people from different organizations requires time, dedication, and effort.
To better understand the perks and pitfalls of cross-legacy boundary spanning, we wrote a book chapter that identifies and describes the structural and sociocultural dimensions of boundary spanning. We also explain how these dimensions influence the success of the post-merger integration process.
Scholars typically view cross-legacy boundary spanners – employees who develop and maintain social relationships with coworkers from both legacy organizations – as the key integrators in mergers and acquisitions (M&As). Organizations even formally appoint employees with cross-legacy responsibilities to support the post-merger integration process. Recent research has started to emphasize, however, how difficult it can be to reap the benefits of a boundary-spanning position. Building and maintaining formal or informal boundary-spanning ties is costly because it requires time, attention, and political savviness. To better understand the perks and pitfalls of cross-legacy boundary-spanning, the authors identify and describe its structural and sociocultural dimensions and explain how they influence cross-legacy boundaryspanning in M&A contexts. The authors argue that the two dimensions can be seen as boundary conditions to the positive relationship between cross-legacy boundary-spanning and post-merger integration. This chapter highlights the potential dark side of cross-legacy boundary spanning and proposes a multidimensional model to explain how cross-legacy boundary spanners can avoid the pitfalls and promote the perks of their position in support of successful post-merger integration.