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Merger And Acquisition Essay

5246 words - 21 pages

Merge Ahead: A Research Agenda to Increase Merger and Acquisition Success
Mitchell Lee Marks • Philip H. Mirvis
Published online: 30 April 2011
Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011
Abstract Scholars have been conducting serious research
on the human, organizational, and cultural aspects of
mergers and acquisitions (M&A) for 30 years. Yet, over
this period, there have only been modest improvements in
the M&A success rate. In this article, we examine corpo-
rate combinations, describe how human factors contribute
to their failure or success, and identify key research
questions whose answers can help to improve the M&A
success rate in both financial and human terms. We propose
research questions for the key phases of a deal, including
buying a company and putting companies together. And,
reflecting an emerging trend among some frequent
acquirers to build an internal competence in M&A execu-
tion, we also propose research questions for how to
accelerate the process of learning from past combinations
to better manage future ones.
Keywords Merger Acquisition Combination Integration M&A Transition Culture clash Transition teams Cross-border
Scholars have been conducting serious research on the
human, organizational, and cultural aspects of mergers and
acquisitions (M&A) for 30 years.1 Yet, over this period,
there have only been modest improvements in the M&A
success rate (Schoenberg 2006). In this article, we examine
corporate combinations, describe how human factors con-
tribute to their failure or success, and identify key research
questions whose answers can help to improve the M&A
success rate in both financial and human terms. We use our
experience as both researchers and advisors in over 100
combinations-as well as our awareness of the scholarly
literature and the work of other practitioners-to highlight
the factors which matter most in eventual M&A success.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Many motives prompt executives to acquire or merge with
another organization. In some cases, a combination helps a
firm move quickly into a new market or product space or
pursue a strategy that would otherwise be too costly, risky,
or technologically advanced to achieve on its own. Other
times, deals are opportunistic, such as when a troubled
competitor seeks a savior or when a bidding war ensues
after a firm is ''put into play.'' Still other times, acquisitions
or mergers can be defensive moves to protect market share
in a declining or consolidating industry. The overarching
reason for combining with another organization is that the
union will enable a firm to attain strategic goals more
quickly and inexpensively than acting on its own (Has-
peslagh and Jamison 1991).
Despite their popularity, most mergers and acquisitions
are financial failures and produce undesirable conse-
quences for the people and companies involved. While M. L. Marks (&) Department of Management, San Francisco State University,

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