Giving sense to and making sense of justice in post-merger integration

P. Monin, N.G. Noorderhaven, E. Vaara, D.P. Kroon

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The objective of this article is to elucidate how justice in general and distributive justice in particular are given sense to and made sense of in postmerger integration. Drawing on a longitudinal real-time analysis of a recent merger, we identify a pattern in which focus moved from equality to equity to less emphasis on distributive justice. To understand the dynamics involved, we develop a process model that explains how actors reconcile pressures of value creation and sociopolitical concerns in dialogical "sensegiving" and "sensemaking" processes that lead to the enactment of specific norms of justice. This analysis adds to research on mergers and acquisitions by facilitating understanding of the crucial role that norms of justice play in postmerger integration, of the way in which they change over time as integration processes unfold, and of the intergroup dynamics through which these norms of justice are enacted. By uncovering the microdynamics of dialogical sensegiving and sensemaking processes, we also contribute to research on organizational justice, sensemaking, and process studies. © 2013 Academy of Management Journal.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)256-284
JournalAcademy of Management Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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