Balancing distinctiveness and synergies: An interpretive case study of postmerger identity

Thit Thorlacius

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis aims at understanding the social aspects of postmerger integration processes by taking an interpretive point of departure in the case of a merger between four Copenhagen film festivals. The case offhand holds a paradox: how can synergies be pursued across the festivals while maintaining the distinctiveness - which is needed for cultural products - for each of these? Research has shown that management in the cultural-creative industries demands balancing of opposing imperatives and handling of dilemmas which generally informs and provides management practices for other industries. Given this aspect of learning from the cultural-creative industries and the paradox of the case, the study has set out to understand the balance between these two opposing elements of organising; distinctiveness and synergies. Through an overall narrative approach organisational identity within the merged organisation is analysed from a cultural as well as a process perspective. The main findings are that the organisational members – through identity work of unmanaged storytelling and sensemaking as well as managed physical artifacts - construct a hybrid and holographic identity based upon both a utilitarian - as well as an artistic logic. By flexibly claiming these logics of the hybrid organisational identity the paradox is balanced by the organisational members. However, the balance of synergies and distinctiveness is in flux as organisational members - by drawing on the utilitarian - and artistic logic - continuously negotiate, narrate, and make sense of how this balance needs to be managed. Moreover, a grey area of differing interpretations of what needs to be distinct and what can be pursued synergies upon exists in the case. The thesis contributes to understanding the social mechanisms of postmerger integration processes within the creative-cultural industries. It points to managers’ advantages of paying attention to the social constructions of identity – both managed and unmanaged - as they hold valuable implications for the balancing of distinctiveness and pursuit of synergies.

EducationsMSocSc in Management of Creative Business Processes , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2010
Number of pages89