The rhetoric of synergy in a global corporation: Visual and oral narratives of mimesis and similarity
Gaggiotti, H. (2012) The rhetoric of synergy in a global corporation: Visual and oral narratives of mimesis and similarity. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 25 (2). pp. 265-282. ISSN 0953-4814 Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/16705
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The general purpose of this paper is to expand understanding about the rhetoric of synergy and how it is manifested in a global corporation, Tubworld (named changed) during a period of mergers and acquisitions. The methodology is based on an analysis of visual and oral material collected during a four-year, intermittent fieldwork project in four companies of the same corporation across four countries. There were three main findings. 1) The rhetoric of synergy is evidenced in the oral and the written, as well as the visual, and is part of the organizational experience of those involved in mergers – particularly expatriate managers. 2) The rhetoric of synergy operates not only in a prospective dimension (in order to justify the mergers or the takeovers and the future of the organization), but also in a retrospective dimension (in order to create a uniform mythical past). 3) The rhetoric of synergy is visualized and experienced not only in the private domain of the factories, but also in the public and semi-public spaces that are part of the managers’ visuals (gates, perimeter walls, signals, roads, water tanks), creating a synergetic world that is not limited to the organizational experience. The most notable limitations of the study are the temporal framework and the limited number of locations; the study was restricted to a moment in the organizational life of Tubworld and its expatriates – to the Tubworld factories that were part of the nuclear constitution of the corporation. On the positive side, this study contributes to a better understanding of the role of the rhetoric of synergy in organizational discourses that support change in general, and mergers and takeovers in particular, thereby providing a broader perception of synergy. The three findings contribute to a better understanding of the impact of the rhetoric of synergy in the organizational representation and practices of expatriate managers – particularly those involved in mergers, acquisitions and takeovers. The method and approach – visual and oral narrative – make an original contribution to the literature, illuminating the problematic of mergers and acquisition at a material and symbolic level.