The prevalence of the us-versus-them mentality in mergers and acquisitions which leads to doom, like a self-fulfilling prophecy is referred to as ‘Cassandra complex’. The term comes from Greek mythology, where the king of Troy’s daughter Cassandra’s doom prophecies turned out to never be believed.

Cassandra Complex Example /case in point: When HP and Compaq planned a merger, many critics felt it was doomed to fail as HP would not be able to integrate with its competitor. To avoid the us-versus-them mentality among senior managers in the HP-Compaq merger, HP’s CEO, Carly Fiorina had each senior executive buddy a counterpart from Compaq. This buddy system was also referred to as “Noah’s Ark” staffing plan. What led to the merger’s success was that managers from either side helped each other during the integration process.

In the case of the AOL-Time Warner failed merger, the us-versus-them attitude prevailed.