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PR 35,6

The HR function in large-scale mergers and acquisitions: the case study of Nordea
¨ Ingmar Bjorkman
INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France and the Swedish School of Economics, Helsinki, Finland, and


Anne-Marie Søderberg
Copenhagen Business School, Copenhagen, Denmark
Purpose – The paper aims to report on an in-depth study of the merger and acquisition processes involved in the creation of the leading financial services corporation in the Nordic countries: Nordea. The purposes are, first, to describe the roles played by the HR function and examine the effects of the roles enacted by the HR function on how the workforces were managed and integrated in the post-merger processes; second, to analyze issues influencing the changing roles played by the HR function in Nordea during the merger processes. Design/methodology/approach – The data for this paper were collected mostly through 60 interviews with HR managers and top executives in Nordea. In addition to the interviews, access was provided to company-internal material and consultancy reports concerning the HR function. Findings – The paper finds that the Nordea case shows, on the one hand, typical problems in organizing and managing HR issues, but also illustrates, on the other, how the HR function is easily left with a secondary non-strategic role in these processes. Research limitations/implications – The paper shows that the general limitations of any single case analysis apply also to the present study. Practical implications – The paper indicates that the communication of expectations both to and from the HR function may be particularly important in clarifying the roles the function is to play in the post-merger process. Originality/value – The paper offers unique insights into the roles played by the HR function in merger processes. Keywords Acquisitions and mergers, Human...