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Worlds Colliding: Examining the social networks and linguistic patterns of a merging organization through email

Presented by Dr Jesse Fagan, University of Exeter Business School

The University of Exeter Q-Step Centre seminar
Date6 November 2019
Time10:30 to 11:30
PlaceForum Seminar Room 05

During a merger the acquiring organization is often a dominant force. It overwhelms the target organization and replaces its norms, routines, and formal structures. I will present the results from an ongoing analysis of a massively rich dataset of emails, longitudinal surveys, individual performance, and ethnography that paints a detailed picture of an unfolding organizational merger.

Topics are extracted from the email content and then estimated to belong to either the dominant organization, or to higher ranking members of the organization. I measure how much of this “powerful” knowledge is then integrated into conversations, and how employees change their networks to connect to powerful people. I show how job attitudes, such as job satisfaction, job insecurity, and organizational commitment, are transmitted among between individuals through email communication. And I show how diverse information fails to provide benefits when the organizational context is rapidly changing. I would encourage those attending to ask questions, and press for new potential directions for this research.

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