Summary of Can Two Rights Make a Wrong?

Insights from IBM's Tangible Culture Approach

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Can Two Rights Make a Wrong? book summary
Most M&As fail, and cultural conflict is often the cause – not because everybody’s wrong, but because they’re right.


5 Overall

6 Applicability

5 Innovation

4 Style


Mergers and acquisitions (M&As) are a permanent part of today’s business landscape. Firms routinely buy other firms or combine with other companies, or sell off business units to focus on core capabilities. Nevertheless, half of all M&As don’t work, often because the companies’ corporate cultures clash. IBM organizational change expert Sara J. Moulton Reger discusses how disparate companies can come together successfully after an M&A. She bases her recommendations on the experience she gained in 2002, when IBM acquired PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting for $3.5 billion. Unfortunately, she does not always explain her story clearly: She tends to bury important points in an avalanche of details, and she never met a buzzword she didn’t like. If you can transcend these stylistic infelicities, you will find IBM’s approach to this common problem useful, although time consuming. getAbstract recommends this book to executives and managers who are considering or are already involved in M&As.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How “Business Practices Alignment” (BPA) helps companies undergoing mergers and acquisitions to fuse disparate corporate cultures
  • What BPA’s primary components are
  • How it works


When Cultures Collide
E.H. Schein, an expert in the field of organizational development, coined the term “corporate culture.” He defines it as “a pattern of shared basic assumptions” that arise from a group’s experiences of solving problems both with one another and with the outside world...
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About the Author

Sara J. Moulton Reger was head of IBM’s Organization Design and Change Management Practice and played a leadership role in IBM’s 2002 assimilation of PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting.

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