Top managers rarely have an accurate inventory of the capabilities buried within their firms. Although there are many reasons for such partial knowledge, cognitive biases play an important role for its existence. We argue that managers’ cognitive biases could lead to lost opportunities and exposure to vulnerabilities as they engage in the complex cognitive tasks surrounding mergers and acquisitions. In this chapter, we propose a structured approach that managers can use to quickly assess the distribution of capabilities across merging firms to mitigate the impact of these biases. Strategic capability mapping (SCM) relies on an assessment of the distribution of capabilities, including where certain capabilities are located, their breadth and depth, and helps increase identification of potential complementarities and combination potential as well as reduce the merged firm's exposure to vulnerabilities such as losing areas of undiscovered strength. A description of the process and examples of successful application are provided.
Evaristo, R. and Zaheer, S. (2012), "Reducing Cognitive Bias in Assessing Combination Potential in M&As", Finkelstein, S. and Cooper, C. (Ed.) Advances in Mergers and Acquisitions (Advances in Mergers & Acquisitions, Vol. 11), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 123-137. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1479-361X(2012)0000011009Download as .RIS
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