Motives for Mergers Among Family and Child-Serving Agencies
Scope of Study: This dissertation explores what motivates not-for-profit social service agencies to merge and whether the merger achieves what was intended. It also looks at unanticipated problems and changes to mission statements as a result of the merger. A triangulation methodology incorporated a quantitative survey instrument and case studies to conduct the research. The agencies included in the study have experienced a merger since 1988 and are members of the Alliance for Children and Families, a national organization of family and child-serving agencies.
Findings and Conclusions: This study shows that agencies are merging to share resources and improve client services, in contrast to the findings of the literature that focus on mergers as a response to survival. This pro-active motivation for merger is more similar to that of for profit companies. The results of the mergers among not-for-profit agencies differ dramatically, however, from the two-thirds failure rate reported in the literature for for profit companies. The agencies included in this study reported substantial goal achievement overall, but particularly for improved client services. Less successful were goals related to administrative cost savings and organizational stability. This view of merger as an opportunity for growth rather than a reaction to a threat provides agencies an important perspective as they make critical decisions about the feasibility of strategic restructuring.