We all know that most cross-border mergers underperform. We know that some of them fail in a very big way. How do we know?

The press reports on these disasters. The business schools teach about them. Consulting firms claim they can prevent them. But, what’s interesting is they all cite cultural differences as one of the major causes but none of them actually spells out what they mean by cultural differences.

Now, here’s the thing, underperforming or failed, cross-border mergers happen not only between companies, but also within companies when departments are merged teams are combined international projects are put together. Mergers within companies run into the exact same challenges as mergers between companies.

Why would there be any difference?