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Case study

Post-merger cultural issues jeopardize a deal

Post-merger cultural issues threatened to jeopardize a deal between this global mobile operator and a large European provider. We recommended a series of workshops to address cultural issues and worked with executives to define a new "desired culture" based on the company’s strategy. More than 200 initiatives were implemented to close the gap between current behaviors and the desired company values.

The Full Story

The Situation

A global mobile operator had merged with a large European provider, but cultural differences threatened to jeopardize the company's ability to capture the significant revenue and cost synergies identified as part of the merger rationale.

MobileCo* needed to identify these issues and achieve cultural integration to deliver the merger's expected benefits.

Our Approach

Bain created a cultural integration process that had two main objectives:

  1. Facilitate the day-to-day management of the business
  2. Help bring the businesses together

The approach was driven around workshops and briefing sessions facilitated by an effective survey process.

An important key to addressing cultural issues was to involve all employees at different stages.

Our Recommendations

Executives agreed upon a new culture using elements of both MobileCo and MergedCo* to create the new 'desired culture' that was better suited to achieving the company's strategy.

The Results

Vision/desired state

  • Strong ownership from the top team on formalized vision and values
  • Enthusiastic buy-in on vision and values from the management teams in all local operations, removing most cultural barriers to centralization of synergistic functions


  • Significant behavioral change from CEO and COO
  • Major initiatives and role modeling undertaken by all members on the top team addressing customer focus, teamwork effectiveness and community strategy
  • Over 200 actions implemented in all local operations to close the gaps between current behaviors and the company values in all areas
    • Example setting/role modeling
    • Coaching/training
    • People/capabilities
    • Structures/systems
    • Roles/decision authorities
    • Measures/incentives/performance appraisal
    • Processes


* We take our clients' confidentiality seriously. While we've changed their names, the results are real.

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