Successful Mergers by Marion Devine

As an HR professional, you could be forgiven for thinking that mergers and acquisitions are instigated and driven by accountants and lawyers, and it’s left to you to pick up the pieces. If you wish to have a more proactive interest in what is going on, then Marion Devine’s excellent book is well worth a read.

Successful Mergers: Tackling the people issues
By Marion Devine
Publisher: The Economist in association with Profile Books
Price: £20, Pages: 230, ISBN 1 86197 360 8 Reviewed by Christopher Wills
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Successful Mergers states simply that if HR is not involved in a merger, it won’t work. After a brief background introduction, the book follows a logical progression through the merger process, giving a breakdown of how HR should be involved at each stage.

The book gives many useful examples of good HR practice from recent mergers in both the UK and the US that should become required reading for HR managers.

Some of the book may appear idealistic in the current economic climate, but it is necessarily so as it is designed to be a best practice manual.

There is a useful chapter on how workers view mergers, which would be a good read for those in HR wishing to prepare for the consequences of not being involved from the start.

This is a well-written book and would be a useful addition to the shelves of all HR departments. It won’t make you an expert in mergers and acquisitions, but if you don’t have an MBA (are there still senior HR people without MBAs?), it will put you in the knowledgeable position of being able to discuss the people issues involved while you loiter around the corridors of power.

Also, if this book were to be left in an executive washroom, who knows, you may actually become involved in the next merger at the outset.

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Christopher Wills is an education consultant. He has recently re-read Performance Measurement and Evaluation edited by Jacky Holloway, Jenny Lewis and Geoff Mallory, which was a set book for his Open University MBA course


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