Opening the black box of acquisition capabilities

Authored by: Niina Nummela , Mélanie Hassett

The Routledge Companion to Mergers and Acquisitions

Print publication date:  July  2015
Online publication date:  June  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415704663
eBook ISBN: 9780203761885
Adobe ISBN: 9781134497652


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Firms differ in their abilities to manage mergers and acquisitions (M&As) (Jemison and Sitkin 1986a), and this notion has encouraged M&A researchers to highlight the role of experience, knowledge, and learning in acquisitions (Empson 2007; Bower 2001, Ranft and Lord 2000). Theories on organizational learning suggest that acquisition capability will improve over time with accumulated experience. However, findings from empirical studies on the linkage between acquisition experience and performance remain contradictory (Barkema and Schijven 2008). In response, a number of researchers have claimed that expertise developed through experiential learning is inherently more complex, with considerable time and effort needed for experience to develop into acquisition capability (e.g. Barkema and Schijven 2008; Haleblian et al. 2006; Hébert et al. 2005; Zollo and Singh 2004).

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