A Framework For Effectively Managing Knowledge Transfer Post Acquisition

2643 words - 11 pages

IntroductionIn today's business climate, mergers and acquisitions increasingly feature as a corporate reality for many organisations worldwide. Organisations are merging for a myriad of reasons, chief among them being, financial, economies of scale, to gain competitive advantage and to enhanced transfer of resources and competencies (Papadakis). Indeed, many organisations need to build and extend their strategic capabilities to compete in the global market (Ranft A. , 2006) and acquiring the skills and knowledge of another organisation may be a key vehicle towards achieving this as it allows a firm to avail of valuable capabilities in the acquired firm in a shorter time than it would have taken to develop internally (Casal & Fontella). However, the effective management of these globally distributed organisations requires knowledge to be transferred from one team, department and geographical division to another (Argote et al 2000).Knowledge is often developed through social networks and the way groups of people within a firm work and transfer knowledge among themselves (Casal & Fontela). This has also been defined as "social identity theory", where individuals gain social identity, part of their personal identity, from the groups to which they belong (A.A.Kane et al 2005) and to change these social units may alter or even damage the resource (Ranft, 2006). A significant component of the knowledge that an organisation acquires during acquisition is tacit knowledge, which is embedded in individual members (Argote & Ingram 2000) and embedded knowledge, like socially complex knowledge, is slower and more difficult to transfer (Casal & Fontela). The mere possession of valuable knowledge somewhere in the organisation does not necessarily mean that other parts of the organisation will benefit from that knowledge (Szulanski, G, 2000) but sharing this valuable knowledge will help the organisation understand its users better and facilitate the delivery of services in a more effective, efficient and responsive fashion (Goh et al, 2008). Even when an organisation supports the transfer of performance-enhancing knowledge, the transfer may fail for reasons ranging from the quality of the relationship between the donor and recipient groups to characteristics of knowledge being transferred (A.A. Kane et al).Despite the growing body of theory, there have been only limited attempts that comprehensively detail how knowledge is transferred post acquisition. Indeed, despite its theoretical and empirical foundation, little is actually known about the critical success factors of managing this process. How to effectively transfer knowledge post acquisition remains a central dilemma? Based upon extant research, this paper will make a unique contribution to a very significant gap in the knowledge management literature, by modelling the processes that enables a company to successfully transfer knowledge post acquisition and in so doing, will obtain...

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