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A link between post-acquisition acculturation and project management maturity: A case study research in the automotive industry

Bruno de Oliveira Carvalho (Department of Mechanical and Production Engineering, Fanor Devry University, Fortaleza, Brazil)
Mario Henrique Ogasavara (ESPM, Sao Paulo, Brazil)

Management Research

ISSN: 1536-5433

Article publication date: 10 April 2017




Numerous firms in the automotive industry, to improve their competitiveness, have recently adopted mergers and acquisitions (M&As) strategies, particularly those in which a multinational enterprise from a developed country (DMNE) or a multinational enterprise from an emerging market (EMNE) acquires a DMNE. However, DMNEs in the industry typically do not acquire emerging market firms. In response, this paper aims to analyze that uncommon M&As process by focusing on the relationship between modes of post-acquisition acculturation and project management (PM) maturity. Because the literature addressing M&As does not correlate the acculturation process with project team maturity, this study seeks to partly fill that gap by proposing a framework for the relationship that draws upon Nahavandi and Malekzadeh’s (1988) research and Holmes and Walsh’s (2005) model.


This paper present qualitative research based on a case study in the automotive industry of a DMNE’s acquisition of a Brazilian firm. For data collection, this research conducted 14 in-depth interviews with managers, the transcripts of which were analyzed using content analysis.


Content analysis revealed differences between modes of acculturation perceived by the acquired and acquirer firms, as well as a gap between PM teams from both types of firm. A direct relationship emerged between the mode of acculturation and PM team, which constituted a factor driving the evolution of PM practices within the company. In recognizing that relationship, this research proposes and elucidates a framework that relates the mode of acculturation following the M&A process to PM maturity.


No previous research in the literature on M&As has analyzed post-acquisition acculturation and PM maturity in conjunction. For managers in post-acquisition companies, the proposed framework of this study is useful for understanding good management practices and, for project teams, for understanding the acculturation process.



The authors are grateful for insightful comments and suggestions received from K.S. Reddy and from the anonymous reviewers on this manuscript. In addition, this research would not have been possible without a research grant provided by FAPESP (Sao Paulo Research Foundation) Process # 2016/06277-2 and CAEPM (Advances Studies) of ESPM Sao Paulo. Both organizations provided financial support to the authors to present the preliminary version of this manuscript in international conferences.


Carvalho, B.d.O. and Ogasavara, M.H. (2017), "A link between post-acquisition acculturation and project management maturity: A case study research in the automotive industry", Management Research, Vol. 15 No. 1, pp. 83-102.



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