Department of Conflict Resolution Studies Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Conflict Analysis & Resolution


Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Judith McKay

Second Advisor

Robin Cooper

Third Advisor

Neil Katz


Company mergers and acquisitions often create tremendous conflict for employees because they force them into a spiral of organizational change. In this environment, employees are challenged with redefining themselves within a new organization. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to discover and explain the particular conflict experiences of professional employees who experienced the merger and acquisition of their company. A phenomenological research study was conducted to discover and describe the shared conflict experiences of professional employees during the merger and acquisition of their consulting firm. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with 17 self-identified professional employees. It was found through an extensive phenomenological data analysis that: (a) the merger and acquisition experience is believed to have strengthened and improved the participants' skills for their professional advancement. With M&A, (b) the major conflict experienced by participants was the feeling of indifference and apprehension by the employees being merged with or acquired by another company as trust and credibility needed to be regained. Lastly, (c) the participants' sense of identity (confidence and professional identity) is still present as they are willing to accept the new factors and aspects of changes and developments that come with the merger and acquisition. The study contributes to the field of conflict analysis and resolution by providing new understandings and perspectives on how mergers and acquisitions are experienced and how they impact employees' conflict experiences and sense of identity.