How Management Consultants Create Value in Post-merger IT Integration

Pascal Kunz

Student thesis: Master thesis


Management consultants are used massively in a wide range of business situations, including the very important context of mergers and acquisitions (M&A). Based on the high deal volumes at stake and the importance of IT integration, which accounts for between 50% and 60% of the expected benefits from M&A activities, management consultancies offer a variety of services in post-merger IT integration (PMITI). But, even though the literature on PMITI has been developing over the last decade, little is known about the role of consultants in that regard. This highly relevant research gap is addressed by this master’s thesis. In order to answer the research questions how management consultants contribute to successful PMITI and how their contributions depend on the context of the M&A activity, the study applies a two-sided case study design within the resource based view. A resource-based framework is applied to the extant literature of PMITI and management consultants in order to conceptualize how the consultants can affect the core aspects of PMITI. Based on this theoretical perspective, the first qualitative phase presents and analyzed the case of a global management consulting company. This step results in a conceptual model of four stereotypical roles of management consultants in PMITI: the content driver, the process driver, the teacher, and the mediator. In addition, the conceptual model proposes a set of contingency factors that moderate the value creation potential of consultants acting in these roles. The subsequent second qualitative phase begins to validate the findings by illustrating and contextualizing them through a multiple case study of four client organizations that employ management consultants in their PMITI efforts. The obtained results largely confirm the proposed conceptual model and slightly extend the set of contingency factors. Overall, this master’s thesis contributes towards building an explanatory theory of management consultants in PMITI. The increased scientific understanding also has important implications for practice as the conceptual model can be applied to assess the value creation potential of management consultants in specific M&A situations, effectively build and utilize consultants’ resources to increase M&A success, and evaluate the performance of management consultants in such endeavors.

EducationsMSc in Business Administration and Information Systems, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages104
SupervisorsStefan Henningsson