Talent retention: an interpretive study of talent’s pull-to-stay post-acquisition – a multiple case study
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Despite the advances in Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) research over the last 40 years, there has been little change in the failure rates and the human side of the deal is noted as one of the main causes of failure. Bridging the themes of strategy and management, this study addresses a gap in the research on talent management within the context of M&A. Taking a process approach by breaking down the complexity of the acquisition into three stages of transaction, transition and integration, a multiple case study research strategy is pursued by means of a qualitative interpretative approach. To address the question of what factors determine the attachment of talent post-acquisition, this multiple case study focuses on five acquired subsidiaries within three cross border acquisitions. Taking a perspective on talent at an individual level, across functions and within a variety of organisational levels, we are presented with a unique insight into the M&A world of talent as it unfolded for them through the acquisition process. Influenced by Rousseau (2001), this study takes a step back and considers the circumstances in which psychological contracts are maintained or revised during the acquisition process itself, where emotions can run high. A talent retention framework is developed based on the findings of this research. This framework combines three stages of the acquisition process; the building blocks of the psychological contract and organisational embeddedness of fit, links and sacrifice as they related to talents pull to stay with an organisation post-acquisition. This research highlights two implications for practice, 1) the use and application of the talent retention framework, and 2) recommendations for change in the HR due diligence process.