Öberg, C. (2017). Transferring acquisition knowledge – sources, directions, and outcomes. Management Research: Journal of the Iberoamerican Academy of Management, 15(1), 28-46. DOI: 10.1108/MRJIAM-02-2016-0644
Abstract: The literature has described knowledge transfer in terms of how companies advance their merger and acquisition activities through experience. This indicates a knowledge transfer from one acquisition to the next, with the acquiring party being the carrier of such knowledge. The present paper adds to this view through pointing out how knowledge on how to acquire, and how to integrate, follows also from other parties and their experiences. The paper discusses and classifies sources, directions, and outcomes of knowledge transfer on acquisitions from a stakeholder point of view. Focus is on external stakeholders, and knowledge is divided between knowledge on acquiring and knowledge on integrating, thus dealing with the pre- and post-merger stages of acquisitions. The paper adopts a multiple case study research design to illustrate its point. While the individual acquisitions are interconnected through the acquirer or acquired party being the same company, indications are that knowledge on how, when, and what party to acquire and how to integrate (degree, direction, timing, and function) follows from external stakeholders and their previous experiences. The findings suggest that knowledge on acquiring follows from general knowledge on sector levels, while specific parties – including customers, competitors, and the acquired party – are the sources of knowledge on integration. Knowledge on acquiring is imitative, while knowledge on integrating rests more on the external stakeholders’ failures.