Type of Document Dissertation Author Reus, Taco H. Author's Email Address firstname.lastname@example.org URN etd-03292004-082453 Title A Knowledge-Based View of International Acquisition Performance Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Management, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Bruce T. Lamont Committee Chair David J. Ketchen, Jr. Committee Member Gary Knight Committee Member James G. Combs Committee Member K. Michele Kacmar Committee Member Keywords
- Mergers and acquisitions
- knowledge transfer
- international strategic management
Date of Defense 2004-02-12 Availability unrestricted AbstractThe purpose of this research was to examine the role of cross-border knowledge transfer in international acquisition performance. Multinational corporations need to manage resource flows within complex networks of relationships between headquarters and foreign subsidiaries. Geographic distance and cultural differences between units in global networks make managing these flows a challenging enterprise, particularly when flows concern intangible expertise and capabilities from and to recently acquired foreign firms. Building upon the large body of acquisition implementation research, and recent developments on the knowledge-based view of the firm, this study developed a general model of antecedents, and performance consequences of knowledge transfer in international acquisitions.
The theoretical model was examined using a cross-sectional research design. Primary questionnaire data from 121 executives from U.S. multinationals that acquired foreign firms between 1998 and 2000 were supplemented with secondary data from various archival sources. Several structural equation models were analyzed using LISREL 8.3 to test the theoretical model.
One of the strongest results of this study was a significant positive effect of knowledge transfer on international acquisition performance. This finding confirms assumptions made by several acquisition researchers, and provides important support for the knowledge-based view.
If knowledge transfer is critical to attain international acquisition success, then it becomes important to identify which factors increase knowledge transfer intensity in international acquisitions. The theoretical model that was developed in this dissertation predicted that knowledge transfer is a function of absorptive capacity and combinative capability that characterize the acquisition. Absorptive capacity refers to the capability to understand and use new knowledge. Results from this study indicate that two dimensions of absorptive capacity, available complementary knowledge and prior related experience, are both important antecedents of knowledge transfer. In the context of distant acquisitions, the prior target country experience is particularly critical, while the prior acquisition experience is most important for nearby acquisitions.
Combinative capability refers to a firmís capacity to combine and recombine existing knowledge. The theoretical model predicted that this capacity is a function of the opportunity, motivation, and ability to share knowledge. The provision of the opportunity to share knowledge through acquisition integration, and rich communication strongly related to knowledge transfer in the sample of international acquisitions. The findings also direct attention to the importance of providing the motivation to share knowledge through key employee retention, and status bestowal of acquired employees. The third dimension of combinative capability, which comprised the ability to share knowledge through mutual understanding of acquisition partners, could not be confirmed.
The results indicate that, within the international context, foreignness is a liability that generated impediments to developing knowledge sharing opportunities. Moreover, contrary to expectations, the effect of knowledge transfer on international acquisition success was stronger for nearby acquisitions than for distant acquisitions. Exploratory analyses indicated that this may be a function of the greater importance of preserving knowledge, rather than transferring knowledge, in the context of distant acquisitions.
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