Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Business and Management.

Publication Details

Personnel Review


Purpose - This paper seeks to address the impact of an organisational change initiative on organisational employees, with specific reference to a micro-merger which occurred in a public sector, higher education organisation in Ireland. The literature on change management is examined, with specific reference to the post-integration stage of a micro-merger. The paper then reports on a study that was undertaken in an Irish higher education institution and focuses on the impact of the micro-merger on employees. Specifically, the study seeks to address their perceptions and emotions relating to a heretofore under-researched area in the merger literature, namely the impact of a change of physical geographic location and the accompanying change of physical facilities on employee motivations and well-being.

Design/Methodology/Approach – The aim of the research was to examine the post-integration stage in a newly merged entity, in terms of the employees’ perceptions regarding the impact of such organisational change on them, from a personal perspective. A phenomenological approach was adopted in this study. A total of 41 in-depth interviews were conducted with academic employees (i.e. lecturers) of an Irish higher education institution.

Findings – The participants had varying feelings and emotions, resulting from the practical and personal manifestations of the change wrought by the micro-merger. These emotions ranged from excitement to anxiety and apprehension. A major theme in the literature is that organisational change can be destabilising for all organisational members, resulting in uncertainty, fear, psychological stress, anxiety and insecurity. This was not the experience in this study. The merger certainly represented a significant change for the participants, but in contrast to the aforementioned stark view of mergers, the participants exhibited a more practical and pragmatic approach to this organisational change.

Originality/Value - This exploration of the emotional impact of a merger on employees is noteworthy in the context of a major research gap in the literature concerning the “soft” or human resource issues arising from a merger. Specifically, the paper illustrates a heretofore under-researched aspect of the change management and post-merger literature, namely the substantial impact of a change in physical location and physical facilities on employees’ motivations and sense of well-being.