Antecedents and Outcomes of Stigmatization in Mergers and Acquisitions/Предпосылки и результаты стигматизации при сделках слияний и поглощений

Project: Grant fulfilmentTotal grant fulfilment

Project Details


The research problem:
The research in the sphere of employee stigmatization in post M&A cases is topical, as was mentioned by various authors (Caiazza & Volpe, 2015; Risberg & Gottlieb, 2019; Unoki, 2012). As was previously mentioned, the issue of workplace stigmatization demands context-driven research (Lyons, et al., 2017; Stamarski, et al., 2015; Summers, et al., 2016), and Russian market stands aside in terms of organizational behavior in terms of M&A deals investigation. Russian context is especially substantial, since, overcoming the difficulties in economic policies (Balashova & Serletis, 2020), it has still overgone more than 560 M&A deals throughout last years, which is a “sustainable” quantity of M&A deals (as since 2017) given the significant “drop” of GDP in 2020 to 4% (KPMG M&A Review 2020). Abundance of M&A deals leads to the problem of effective work in diverse teams (Risberg & Gottlieb, 2019). Diversity includes various nationalities, races, genders, ages, religions, cultures, sexual orientations, et cetera, working together and, by achieving the teams’ KPIs, bringing profits to enterprises (Ilmakunnas, et al., 2011; Martin, 2014). While building this “diversity culture” in the organizations, especially in those being acquired during M&A deal (Risberg & Gottlieb, 2019), companies face the problem of stigmatization, reflecting the unconscious bias principle and the “attribution” of specific negative characteristics to those employees who are considered to be the members of a certain social minority (Crocker, et al., 1998).While stigmatization is explicitly studied in social psychology, it is still not widespread in organizational behavior studies (Baur, et al., 2018; Paetzold et al., 2008; Summers, et al., 2016). Nor is it investigated in the M&A context – however, that is where stigmatization arises and may be prone to lead to disruptive negative effects on employee behavior and performance (Risberg & Gottlieb, 2019; Summers, et al., 2016). Alongside various individual negative effects of stigmatization which tackle the issues of employee’s wellbeing and performance, stigmatization may lead to a decrease in employees’ team’s productivity. As stigmatization may lead to decrease in diversified and inclusive workspace (Risberg & Gottlieb, 2019), the work teams may experience lack of creativity and innovativeness (Rock & Grant, 2016), which may become an obstacle in terms of organization’s development and profits’ growth (Yeager & Nafukho, 2012). International and local businesses all over the world experience a need to work in diverse and inclusive teams due to the rise of migration (UN International Migration Report), and, despite the recent COVID-19 crisis, globalization (Shretha, et al., 2020). This issue is especially topical in the Russian context, where multicultural teams are widespread (Ilyin, 2019). Although Russia is multicultural, business practitioners claim that companies operating in Russia are not ready to face the challenges of work in multinational teams (Ilyin, 2019), and presumably the deepest part of the problem lies beyond just discrimination – in unconscious bias of the workers on Russian market, which find their realization in stigmatization’s effects in the workplace. The spectrum of possible effects stays topical for HR specialists and top managers, and, in terms of teamwork and multicultural interactions, includes exclusion from social interactions, disengagement and unwillingness to work, attribution of responsibility (Albrecht, et al., 1982; Brakel, et al., 2019), employee’s identification with the team and the organization in whole, work centrality (Boyce, et al., 2007; Weiss & Cropanzano, 1996) and others. It is vital to mention that in post M&A cases the work in diverse teams becomes a matter of serious consideration for top managers of both acquired and acquiring companies. (Bellinger & Hillman, 2000; Risberg & Gottlieb, 2019) Given that recently in Russia a lot of M&A deals have been conducted (KPMG M&A Review 2020), the effective work in a diversified (by different characteristics, including gender, age, race, culture, et cetera) teams reflects one of the main perils of building a proper HR-system with regard to organizational behavior.

Research objective:The main research questions, put forward by the research, are the following:1) How stigmatization (narrowly focusing on: mental health, negative emotions and marital status stigmas) impacts the following stigmatization outcomes: employee presenteeism, identification, and opportunistic behavior? 2) How these outcomes (employee presenteeism, identification, and opportunistic behavior) influence the organizational legitimacy?3) Does depth of post-merger integration play a role of moderator in these stigma-outcome relationships, and, if yes, how it affects the propagation of stigma effects?As stigmatization can be fully researched in a context-based analysis (Summers, et al., 2016), the above listed research questions were reviewed among companies operating in Russian market and having overcome or overcoming the M&A process.

The research motivation and statement of results' achievement:Although 'stigma' is a widely used term in psychology and sociology, few studies of management and human resource practices have examined the concept in the organizational context (Paetzold, et al., 2008). Russian scientific community does not provide any existing studies on stigmatization and its impact on workers’ and work groups’ performance, especially in the M&A context. It is firstly substantial for business practitioners to understand the “nature” of stigmatization, arising in the M&A context between the employees of acquiring and acquired organizations, in order to be ready to prevent it for the sake of productiveness of the diverse teams and establishment of the inclusive work space.
Theoretical background:The main theories being investigates were the stigma identity theory (Goffman, 2003), attribution theory (Weiner, et al, 1988), and the theory of liability of foreigners (Harvey, et al., 2005). The concept of employee 'stigmatisation' can be discussed in terms of organisational climate, discrimination and workforce diversity. (Byrd, 2020) This topic has recently become particularly relevant due to the development of the concept of a diverse workforce, Diversity & Inclusion themes, not only as central to many qualitative and quantitative studies, but also as important elements in the management strategies of organizations in Russia and abroad. The concept of "stigma" came to the scientific world from ancient Greece. Greeks called a "stigma" a certain external prominent mark that signaled poor or insufficient moral qualities in an individual. Such "marks" were expressed in the form of scorched inscriptions and symbols on the skin of slaves, former criminals, and traders found guilty of dishonorable work. In theology, "stigma" referred to the marks of martyrs and Jesus Christ in particular; later the mark passed into medicine and was used as a description of "natural" mutilations or birthmarks that could not be cured (Goffman, 2006).Also, Goffman (1997) pointed out that the concept of 'stigma' is inseparable from that of 'social identity', which can be divided into two kinds: "virtual" and "actual". The former refers to those characteristics that are assigned to an individual and the latter to those traits that a worker possesses and applies in the workplace and in his or her personal life.Thus, the concept of 'stigma' ascribed to individuals in general can be defined as follows: "stigmatized individuals (in an organizational context, employees) have (or are perceived to have) characteristics that reflect a social identity that is undervalued in a particular social context" (Crocker, et al., 1998). An important feature of this definition may be that stigmatized employees do not necessarily actually have these characteristics - more often they are 'prescribed' a set of qualities based on their membership of a particular group (the next section of the thesis lists the types of affiliation, i.e. the types of stigma prescribed to employees), due to the assumption that all members of a designated set of identities are endowed with these characteristics (Summers, et al., 2018). This phenomenon is referred to as 'attribution'. The person who attributes a stigma to an individual is referred to in the English-language literature as the 'perceiver', which can be translated as 'recipient', while the stigmatized individual is described as the 'target', or object of stigma (Corrigon & Watson, 2007).The target of stigmatization can be an employee, a particular occupation, an industry or an organization as a whole. The attitudes of some workers towards a particular profession or work in a particular industry can lead colleagues, managers and people external to the organization to assign characteristics of incompetence, reduced productivity, belonging to a 'lower' social class (Phung, K., et al., 2020). Occupational stigma usually points to the social, moral and physical 'shortcomings' of employees (Ashforth & Kreiner, 1999).It is vital to highlight the fact that stigmatization should not be viewed as a one-sided negative phenomenon (Kurzban & Leary, 2001). In many areas, i.e., creation of a talent pool, HiPo identification and promotion, stigmatization might play a positive role and benefit both the employee and the company. However, for the sake of the current research, we focus on the negative aspects stigmatization might place on employee behavior, individual and group performance. Among all the stigmatization types mentioned and analyzed in various papers are listed the following: stigmatization by race, gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, accent, physical appearance (including birthmarks, tattoos, attractiveness), depressions and other various mental illnesses, duration of work experience, participation in non-work activities, religion, marital status and period of pregnancy, alcohol, smoking or drug addiction, occupation, social status (including amount of salary and reputation), certain experience perceived as negative (specific education, work in a particular industry, felony conviction, abortion, divorce, etc.). The antecedents of stigma, arising in the organizational context (apart from the evident ones: characteristic being stigmatized, either external or internal, and the stereotypes based on previous experience or certain beliefs shaping the stigmatization) described after the literature review are proposed as: absence of organizational legitimization of certain employees’ traits and behavioral patterns (Summers, et al., 2016), type of work being performed (Mikolon, et al., 2018; Summers, et al., 2016), additional negative experience (additional in relation to stigmatization marker) (Dorfman, et al., 2019; Gerstel, 2014; Summers, et al., 2016), cultural and social peculiarities of the country (Summers, et al., 2016), organizational culture and corporate climate (Collings & Mellahi, 2009; Gelfand, et al., 2007), existing HR-practices (Toth, 2018), any other mental and physical characteristics, connected to diseases (Lynch & Rodell, 2018; van Amsterdam & van Eck, 2019).The possible negative consequences of stigma mentioned by diverse scholars are: decrease of individual employee’s performance (Albrecht, et al., 1982; Brakel, et al., 2019; Johnston, 2005), demotivation, resentment (Johnston, 2005; Miller & Kaiser, 2001), poor quality of mental health (Major, et al., 2002), social distancing and employee’s exclusion from various social processes (Boyce, et al., 2007; Lynch & Rodell, 2018), decrease in employee satisfaction (Ensher, et al., 2001), lack or excess of work centricity (Boyce, et al., 2007; Major & Kaiser, 2005), lack of employee identification (Weiss & Cropanzano, 1996), distorted (or – unjustified) HR processes of recruiting and promotion (Hebbl, et al., 2020; Polinko & Popovich, 2006; Shapiro, et al., 2007; Schwartz, et al., 2006), employee behavior: “survival” rather than cohabitation (Bagdasarian & Godrick, 2020; Johnston, 2005; Major, et al., 2002; Miller & Kaiser, 2001). It is vital to make a remark, since observed were all types of stigmas: concealable and non-concealable, and belonging to one of these types implies different reactions of employees being stigmatized and imposing stigma as well. As stated by Harvey (2005) liability of foreigners reflects a negative attitude towards employees’ of other cultures and nationalities. Working with M&A deals, especially with the foreign ones, it can be concluded that liability of foreigners comes to forth when employees of acquired firm have to interact with the buyers’ workers and are underestimated and attributed to as “spoiled” identities due to their origins. First of all the stigmas of mental disabilities, marital status and negative emotions are described and overviewed. The focus on these three stigmas allows to understand deeply the antecedents and consequences of stigmatization, as well as its side effects and influence zones, which were researched with the help of the works and scales of King, et al. (2007). The depth of post-merger integration, in its turn, plays a role of a moderator and may impact the way stigmatization affects the workers in post M&A cases. In the end, the employee presenteeism, employee identification and opportunistic behavior are closely studied to reveal the connection between their development, depth of post-merger integration, and these effects. The last issue to be researched is the organizational legitimacy which is closely related to the issues of stigmatization in the M&A context (Ashforth, 2019). It is vital to mention that especially the M&A context lacks the investigation of the stigmatization’s development and propagation (Risberg & Gottlieb, 2019). Given that this is a gap for the future research, we base our study on this specific issue of stigmatization and its effects in post M&A cases.

The project will be done in collaboration with S. Tarba (Professor of the Department of Strategy and International Business, Chair in Strategy and International Business, University of Birmingham) and M.F. Ahammad, Associate Professor of International Business, University of Leeds.

Existing research that forms the background for the study is the following:

Albrecht, G.L., Walker, V. G., Levy, J. A. Social distance from the stigmatized: A test oftwo theories [Электронный ресурс] / Gary L. Albrecht, Vivian G. Walker, JudithA. Levy // Social Science & Medicine. — 1982. — V. 16, I. 14, pp. 1319-1327— Режим доступа:

Ashforth, B. E. (2019) Stigmaand legitimacy: Two ends of a single continuum or different continuaaltogether?

Balashova & Serletis(2020) Oil prices shocks and the Russian economy

Baur, J. E., Hall, A.V., Daniels, S. R., Buckley, M. R., Anderson, H. J. Beyond banning the box: Aconceptual model of the stigmatization of ex-offenders in the workplace[Электронный ресурс] / John E. Baur, Alison V. Hall, Shanna R. Daniels, M.Ronald Buckley, Heather J. Anderson // Human Resource Management Review. —2018. — Vol. 28, I. 2, pp. 204-219 — Режим доступа:

Bellinger, L.,Hillman, A. J. (2000) Does tolerance lead to better partnering? Therelationship between diversity management and M&A success

Boyce, A. S.,Ryan, A. M., Imus, A. L., Morgeson, F. P. Temporary Worker, Permanent Loser?” AModel of the Stigmatization of Temporary Workers [Электронный ресурс] / AnthonyS. Boyce, Ann Marie Ryan, Anna L. Imus, Frederick P. Morgeson // Journal ofManagement. — 2007. — Vol. 33, I. 1, pp. 5-29 — Режим доступа:

Byrd, T.Experiences of Intersectionality | A Phenomenological Exploration of How BlackAmerican Women Leaders Respond to Stigmatization in the Workplace [Электронныйресурс] / Terrica Byrd // The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. —2016. — Режим доступа:

Caiazza & Volpe(2015) Interaction despite of diversity: is it possible?

Crocker, J., Major, B.,Steele, C. M. Social stigma [Электронный ресурс] / Jennifer Crocker, BrendaMajor, Claude M. Steele // The Handbook of Social Psychology. — 1998. — V. 2,pp. 504–553 — Режим доступа:

Goffman, E. Selections from Stigma.The Disability Studies Reader [Электронный ресурс] / Erving Goffman // Taylor& Francis. — 2017. — Режим доступа:

Goffman, E. Stigma and SocialIdentity. Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity [Электронныйресурс] / Erving Goffman // Simon and Schuster. — 1986. — Режим доступа:

Goffman, E.Stigma. Key Ideas in Sociology [Электронный ресурс] / Erving Goffman // Simonand Schuster. — 2003. — Режим доступа:

Green (2016) WorkforceManagement Issues in Mergers and Acquisitions

Ilmakunnas &Ilmakunnas (2011) Diversity at the Workplace: Whom Does it Benefit?

Ilyin, S. R. (2019) Themain problems of cross-cultural management in Russia

King, et al. (2007) TheStigma Scale: development of a standardised measure of the stigma of mentalillness,correlated%20with%20global%20self%2Desteem

KPMG M&A Review(Russia) (2020)

Lyons, B. J., Pek, S.,Wessel, J. L. (2017) Toward a “sunlit path” stigma identity management as asource of localized social change through interaction

Song, Zeng, Zhou (2021)Information asymmetry, cross-listing, and post-M&A performance

M&A IMAA Statistics

Martin, 2014. TheEffects Of Cultural Diversity In The Workplace n

Nikandrou &Papalexandris (2007) The impact of M&A experience on strategic HRMpractices and organisational effectiveness: evidence from Greek firms

Paetzold, R. L.,Dipboye, R. L., Elsbach, K. D. A New Look at Stigmatization in and of

Organizations[Электронный ресурс] / Ramona L. Paetzold, Robert L. Dipboye, Kimberly D.

Elsbach// Academy ofManagement Review. — 2008. — V. 33, I. 1 — Режим доступа:

Risberg, A., Gottlieb,S. S. Workplace Diversity and Gender in Merger and Acquisition Research (2019)

Rock, D., Grant, H. WhyDiverse Teams Are Smarter? [Электронный ресурс] / David Rock, Heidi Grant // HarvardBusiness Review. — 2016. — Режим доступа:

Shrestha, N., Shad, M.Y., Ulvi, O., Khan, M. H., Karamehic-Muratovic, A., Nguyen, U. D. T., Baghbanzadeh,M., Wardrup, R., Aghamohammadi, N., Cervantes, D., Nahiduzzaman, K. M., Zaki,R. A., Haque, U. (2020) The impact of COVID-19 on globalization

Stamarski, C. S., SonHing, L. S. Gender inequalities in the workplace: the effects of organizationalstructures, processes, practices, and decision makers’ sexism [Электронныйресурс] / Cailin S. Stamarski, Leanne S. Son Hing // Department of Psychology,University of Guelph. Frontiers in Psychology — 2015. — V. 6 — Режим доступа:

Summers, J. K., Howe,M., McElroy, J. C., Ronald Buckley, M., Pahng, P., Cortes-Mejia, S. A typologyof stigma within organizations: Access and treatment effects [Электронный

ресурс] / James K.Summers, Michael Howe, James C. McElroy, M. Ronald Buckley, Phoebe Pahng,Sebastian Cortes‐Mejia // The Job Annual Review. — 2016. (printed version)

Thakur & Bansal(2016) A framework of HR enablers for successful M&A integration

UN International Migration Report (2020),cent%20of%20the%20world's%20population.

Unoki (2012) Mergers,Acquisitions and Global Empires: Tolerance, Diversity and the Success ofM&A

Weiss, H. M., Cropanzano, R. (1996) AffectiveEvents Theory: A theoretical discussion of the structure, causes andconsequences of affective experiences at work.

Weiner, B., Perry, R. P., &Magnusson, J. (1988). An attributional analysis of reactions to stigmas.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 55 (5), 738–748.

Yahiaoui, Chebbi, Weber(2016) HR practices, context and knowledge transfer in M&A

Yeager, K. L., Nafukho,F. M. (2012) Developing diverse teams to improve performance in theorganizational setting

Short titleStigmatization in M&A
Effective start/end date15/06/211/06/22