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Transferring acquisition knowledge – sources, directions and outcomes

Christina Öberg (School of Business, Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden)

Management Research

ISSN: 1536-5433

Article publication date: 10 April 2017




The literature has described knowledge transfer in terms of how companies advance their merger and acquisition activities through experience. This indicates a knowledge transfer from one acquisition to the next, with the acquiring party being the carrier of such knowledge. The present paper aims to add to this view through pointing out how knowledge on how to acquire and how to integrate, follows also from other parties and their experiences. The paper discusses and classifies sources, directions and outcomes of knowledge transfer on acquisitions from a stakeholder point of view. Focus is on external stakeholders and knowledge is divided between knowledge on acquiring and knowledge on integrating, thus dealing with the pre- and post-merger stages of acquisitions.


The paper adopts a multiple case study research design to illustrate its point. While the individual acquisitions are interconnected through the acquirer or acquired party being the same company, indications are that knowledge on how, when and what party to acquire and how to integrate (degree, direction, timing and function) follows from external stakeholders and their previous experiences.


The findings suggest that knowledge on acquiring follows from general knowledge on sector levels, while specific parties – including customers, competitors and the acquired party – are the sources of knowledge on integration. Knowledge on acquiring is imitative, while knowledge on integrating rests more on the external stakeholders’ failures.


The paper provides a research design contribution to acquisition studies, as most such studies adopt a quantitative, secondary data approach. The main contribution is though the focus on external stakeholders as sources of knowledge on acquiring and integrating. The previous literature seems to suggest that it is the experience accumulated through the acquirer’s previous acquisitions that provides the acquisition knowledge. The paper’s perspective, which includes several external stakeholders, provides a rather unique piece of research on stakeholders in mergers and acquisitions.



Öberg, C. (2017), "Transferring acquisition knowledge – sources, directions and outcomes", Management Research, Vol. 15 No. 1, pp. 28-46.



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