Managing legitimacy in a cross-border post-merger integration context: the role of language strategies

Ashish Malik*, Paresha Sinha, Pawan Budhwar, Vijay Pereira

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
45 Downloads (Pure)


This paper develops a conceptual framework of language strategies in the cross-border post-merger and acquisition (M&A) context as firms seek legitimacy for integration from their internal stakeholders. We contribute by developing a framework for advancing the debate that cross-border bidder firms employ rationalistic and nationalistic rationales to legitimise their M&A choices, including the role of language, which is an embodiment of culture to help create synergies in a post-merger integration (PMI) context. Based on our review of social identity, legitimacy, and strategic integration literature, our conceptual model outlines language strategies to achieve the twin goals of PMI and legitimising their choices. We offer a critical review of the approaches used in cross-border PMI and integrate the role of language in gaining legitimacy for the internal stakeholders, such as its impact on employees and managers. From an international human resource management perspective, we highlight the importance of language strategies for each of the four integration scenarios for the bidder and target firm employees and managers, primarily when neither the target nor the bidder firm uses English as their native language. Finally, we develop propositions to advance future research in this area. The role of international language training and other approaches is also highlighted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4144-4174
Number of pages31
JournalInternational Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 08 Aug 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • communication
  • cross-border
  • language strategies
  • Legitimacy
  • mergers and acquisition (M&A)
  • post-merger integration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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