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Size effect and merger dominance in salesforce integration

Joon-Hee Oh (Department of Marketing and Entrepreneurship, California State University, East Bay, Hayward, California, USA)

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing

ISSN: 0885-8624

Article publication date: 21 December 2020

Issue publication date: 27 July 2021




This study aims to test the authors’ theory that in an integrated sales team, the larger team (either from the acquiring or acquired firm) dominates the smaller team, even though it may be less competent than the smaller one, and that the level of competence of the integrated entity with the dominant but inferior larger team is bound to deteriorate.


The study tests the theory by conducting a laboratory experiment.


The results from the experiment show that an asymmetrical employee composition structure creates merger dominance in the post-integration group and influences the integration performance.

Research limitations/implications

Considering the lack of mergers and acquisitions research in the marketing literature, the author believes that this study contributes new information to the literature. The finding that an integrated entity with a dominant but inferior larger partner will demonstrate a resulting degeneration of competence invites empirical research for validation.

Practical implications

The integration of sales teams is central to ensuring revenue growth and driving the value that mergers promise but often fail to realize. The study findings provide some practical insights in this regard.


Mergers between asymmetrical partners are common phenomena. However, few studies have investigated how an unequal size of sales teams in pre-merger firms influences the effective integration of different sales teams. To fill this research gap, this study examines whether the involvement of an unequal number of salespeople from pre-merger firms in a post-merger sales team may influence its post-merger performance.



Oh, J.-H. (2021), "Size effect and merger dominance in salesforce integration", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 36 No. 7, pp. 1077-1089.



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