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Acquirers’ prior related knowledge and post-acquisition integration: Evidences from four Chinese firms

Qi Ai (College of Public Administration, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China) (Faculty of Business and Law, University of Northampton, Northampton, UK)
Hui Tan (School of Management, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, UK) (Hubei University of Economics, Wuhan, China)

Journal of Organizational Change Management

ISSN: 0953-4814

Article publication date: 3 July 2017

Abstract

Purpose

This paper examines the role of acquirers’ prior related knowledge in the post-acquisition integration process. The purpose of this paper is to identify what constitutes the key prior related knowledge that can contribute to the reverse knowledge transfer following Chinese firms’ outward mergers and acquisitions (M&As) to Europe, and explain how prior related knowledge affects such transfer of knowledge.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors employ a multiple case study approach. Semi-structured interviews were conducted from February 2012 to June 2013 with 24 managers.

Findings

The authors find that, in addition to knowledge about the target, prior international business experience, R&D capability, and industrial capabilities are key components of acquirers’ prior related knowledge that can contribute to the success of M&A integration and post-acquisition reverse knowledge transfer. Indeed, Chinese acquirers’ prior related knowledge can influence the reverse knowledge transfer from acquired firms to acquirers by directly improving acquirers’ absorptive capacity and building a harmonious organisational climate to facilitate such transfer.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to the absorptive capacity and the cross-border M&A literature. It extends the current knowledge on the key components of an acquirer’s prior related knowledge in the outward M&A by Chinese firms. It also uncovers how post-acquisition reverse knowledge transfer is affected by acquirers’ prior related knowledge.

Keywords

Citation

Ai, Q. and Tan, H. (2017), "Acquirers’ prior related knowledge and post-acquisition integration: Evidences from four Chinese firms", Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 30 No. 4, pp. 647-662. https://doi.org/10.1108/JOCM-08-2015-0145

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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