This study focuses on executives' experiences of courage in conjunction with cultural integration following the merger of two large rival companies. Field research (Kitching, 1967) with top-level executives involved in mergers & acquisitions indicates that successful mergers involve managers of change who "catalyze the combination process" (p. 91). Managers are said to be the conduits through which culture is transmitted and become key drivers of cultural integration following an acquisition or merger (Bligh, 2001). The researcher discusses common experiences of courage reported by executives who experienced cultural integration after a corporate merger in the context of categories and structures of courage. Previous research (Rate, 2007; Woodard, 2004) on the topic of courage suggests that four factors and seven components comprise all experiences of courage. Based on the parameters established by Rate and Woodard, participants demonstrated acts of courage in 31 of the 40 incidents dealing with cultural integration they reported in this study. The results of this study indicate that cultural integration, a complex process that can take years to complete, is a specific circumstance that involves courageous behavior at work. Cultural blending, in particular, is one step of the cultural integration process that appears to be associated with acts of courage. In this study, all 10 participants' courage experience descriptions associated with cultural blending contained the three required elements of courage identified by Rate (2007); (a) external circumstances, (b) motivation toward excellence, and (c) volition. This seems to suggest that courage is a distinguishing leadership attribute for integration managers who are responsible for developing the shared understandings necessary to engage companies in the process of cultural blending. Four groups of cultural integration experiences were discovered based on correlations between courage categories and cultural integration process steps. These groups may represent cultural integration scenarios. Although each participant's cultural integration description contained a different set of cultural integration model factors, there were similarities found within the groups. The detection of patterns in the types of courage that occurred in certain cultural integration process steps suggests that cultural integration scenarios may be useful in determining which categories of courage are necessary for a particular situation involving merger cultural integration.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; Organizational change -- Social aspects; Consolidation and merger of corporations -- Management; Leadership -- Case studies

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Leigh, Doug;