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Analysis of the main organizational changes in Carrefour and the role of Informational Technology in this organizational change process

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  1. Introduction.
  2. Presentation of Carrefour.
  3. The merger story.
  4. The new Carrefour.
  5. Information Systems within the new entity.
  6. Conclusion.
  7. References.

Contrary to their considerable growth in terms of number and value, the operations of mergers and acquisitions reveals, for more than one operation out of two, a failure from the economic and organizational point of view (McKinsey 2000; Mercer Consulting 2001, 2003). The insufficiency of the reasons presented to explain the failures of mergers and acquisitions were largely recognized. The strategic complementarity, although necessary, is not sufficient to carry out expected synergies of such an operation. The human, cultural and informational aspects from now on are used more and more to explain the results (Schweiger & Walsh 1990). It is established today that a great part of the failures is explained by integration difficulties of the methods, management processes and information systems. Thus, the integration stage, once acquisition or merger has been officialised, is the genuine key of success of the operation (Haspelagh and Jemison 1991).

[...] These changes related to four projects combining both organizational and technical aspects: The creation of an independent IT department: the main objectives of this department were to better control the costs of IT changes and to ensure a more coherent evolution with IS. Carrefour equipped all its subsidiary companies with independent structures of services. The CSIF (Carrefour Systeme d'Information de France) was created in order to associate the cultures and policies of the new entity. Finally, EDS (an external IT specialized company) was in charge of the communication between all the stores in the world. [...]

[...] During the 80's, Carrefour is still growing internationally with the opening of new stores in Argentina and Taiwan. In the early nineties, Carrefour takes over the French hypermarket chains ?Euromarché? and ?Montlaur?. The first ?Contient? hypermarket is opened in Greece. Carrefour continues its impressive international strategy in Italy, Turkey, Mexico, Malaysia, China, Thailand, Korea, Singapore and Poland. Promodes acquires the convenience store chain ?Felix Potin?. In 1999, Carrefour and Promodes announced their merger to become the world's second largest retailer and the first in Europe. [...]

[...] After the major organization changes, IS has been deeply modified in order to be more adapted and to be more effective after the merger of Carrefour and Promodes. We can say that the new IS played a major role in the success of the merger. Carrefour could not consider a successful merger without the help of Information Technology. Until now, the new information system is effective and profitable. It is necessary to consider a vision based on the organizational, strategic and information systems levels. [...]

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