Module 2 Group Case Study

Case Study

What escapes many businesses when they merge is a concern for the changes in culture. As mergers progress a significant amount of research is done on financials, markets, sales operations, etc. Far less attention is paid to integration of employee/employer relationships after the details of the merger are complete (Featherly, 2006). Kevin Wilde, Chief Learning Officer at General Mills, compares culture to the water in a fish bowl. The water surrounds and sustains, but the fish remain unaware of it’s exact properties. When two fishbowls merge, the resulting change is atmosphere is subtle, but still a shock to the system (Featherly, 2006).

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One concern newly-merged companies have is the integration of the sales forces. When General Mills and Pillsbury merged in late October of 2001, the combined sales of the new company was estimated at $13 billion and it become the 5th largest food company, doubling it’s annual sales (General Mills-Pillsbury gets the ok, 2001). This larger, more complex system took on 40 new countries and major markets (Whitney, 2004). The goal of the Chief Learning Officer on behalf of the organization was to get everyone working toward the same goals.

It’s critical to engage the sales team immediately. Without revenue, the company will falter immediately. After some initial training, Wilde thought the two sales teams were working in tandem. It was quite a shock for him to find out that in a climate survey the original Pillsbury team gave very low scores to the question asking if they understood their jobs, their goals, and how to get things done (Whitney, 2004). This was clearly cause for concern.

Case Study Questions

After reading the case study consider the following questions.

  1. What issues of integrating employees arise in a merger the size of that undertaken by General Mills and Pillsbury?
  2. What do you think underlies the low scores of understanding jobs, goals, and getting things done from Pillsbury’s original salesforce?
  3. What should Kevin Wilde, the CLO, do to bring the two salesforces together? Be specific and consider the whole OD process.
  4. What other kinds of training should the new company offer to ensure the workforce is ready for a new future together?
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