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The Impact of Knowledge Codification, Experience Trajectories and Integration Strategies on the Performance of Corporate Acquisitions

  • Harbir Singh
  • Maurizio Zollo
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    This study addresses the following questions: (1) can organizations learn how to manage infrequent and heterogeneous tasks ? (2) If they can, then what are the mechanisms that might explain learning under these circumstances ?, and (3) what are the limitations under which these mechanisms operate ? A model based on explicit knowledge codification and tacit experience accumulation is submitted and tested using data from a sample of 183 acquisitions in the US banking industry. Measures of post-acquisition integration strategies and of pre-acquisition resource characteristics are included in the model. We find that tacit knowledge accumulation significantly impacts performance when the experiences are highly homogeneous, and that knowledge codification improves acquisition performance in the context of high post-acquisition integration, i.e. when the organizational challenge is particularly complex. Also, the level of integration between the two firms involved in the acquisition positively influences performance, while the replacement of top managers in the acquired firm impacts performance in a negative fashion. Implications are drawn for organizational learning theory and for a knowledge-based view of corporate acquisitions.

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    File URL: http://fic.wharton.upenn.edu/fic/papers/98/9824.pdf
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    Paper provided by Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania in its series Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers with number 98-24.

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    Date of creation: Aug 1998
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    Handle: RePEc:wop:pennin:98-24
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    1. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-382776 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Agrawal, Anup & Jaffe, Jeffrey F & Mandelker, Gershon N, 1992. " The Post-merger Performance of Acquiring Firms: A Re-examination of an Anomaly," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1605-21, September.
    3. Dosi, Giovanni, 1993. "Technological paradigms and technological trajectories : A suggested interpretation of the determinants and directions of technical change," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 102-103, April.
    4. Kenneth Arrow, 1962. "Economic Welfare and the Allocation of Resources for Invention," NBER Chapters, in: The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity: Economic and Social Factors, pages 609-626 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Jensen, Michael C. & Ruback, Richard S., 1983. "The market for corporate control : The scientific evidence," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(1-4), pages 5-50, April.
    6. Healy, Paul M. & Palepu, Krishna G. & Ruback, Richard S., 1992. "Does corporate performance improve after mergers?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 135-175, April.
    7. Ingemar Dierickx & Karel Cool, 1989. "Asset Stock Accumulation and Sustainability of Competitive Advantage," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 35(12), pages 1504-1511, December.
    8. Pennings, J.M. & Barkema, H.G. & Douma, S.W., 1994. "Organizational learning and diversification," Other publications TiSEM 2cabb122-340f-4729-afb3-9, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
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