This is a very important topic and one that becomes very relevant in many deals where cultural challenges are underestimated – even though they may cause obstruction in achieving those strategic and financial benefits that has been identified. That could be one way to communicate the challenges and the impact they may have. It is difficult to quantify, but many strategical and financial benefits require some kind of behavior from the parties involved to become achievable.. and behavior is hugely interlinked with culture. So identifying the necessary behaviors and trying to quantify the impact of inappropriate behaviors might actually significantly reduce the strategical and financial benefits. And if the deal is still assessed as being valuable enough to proceed, then you know where to focus your energy on the integration efforts. win-win from an integration perspective.
When facing significant cultural differences or challenges one should also be very mindful of the extent of the integration. It might not be necessary to go for a full integration on all aspects (absorption), other integration models (preservation, symbiosis or holding) could be more appropriate and reduce the impact of cultural differences and allow the integration team to focus only on the key interfaces.