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The process of knowledge transfer in mergers and acquisitions: A single-case study of a Swedish manufacturing organization
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Background: Mergers and acquisitions (hereinafter referred to as M&As) are increasing in their importance and they have become a commonly applied strategic option for organizations. A major reason for an acquisition is often the objective of gaining new knowledge from the acquired company and then transferring that knowledge among other parts within the acquiring organization. Furthermore, the explicit and tacit nature of knowledge is essential for the transfer of knowledge during M&As. Also, the process of knowledge transfer is dynamic and complex and thus, numerous challenges can arise along the way. As proved by the literature individuals are the key factors, which constrain the transfer of knowledge in M&As.

Aim: Despite the extensive existing literature in the area of knowledge transfer, it provides a rather static view and thus, less is known about the dynamic process nature of knowledge transfer in M&As. Therefore, the purpose of this qualitative research is to gain deeper understanding of how the process of knowledge transfer evolves over time and how employees constrain it within the acquiring organization during the post-acquisition phase in a merger and acquisition (hereinafter referred to as M&A). In addition, the redefined models in this thesis provide a foundation for future research.

Methodology: This thesis is based on a qualitative single-case study method, which builds upon empirical data of an anonymous Swedish international organization (hereinafter referred to as Globex) operating in the manufacturing sector. Theoretical constructs are applied in order to form a generalization. First-hand information is primarily used for this thesis, which was collected in the form of in-depth interviews with the employees of Globex. In order to present the analysed data in a more understandable and visible manner, tables and graphs were applied. Furthermore, our research method is based on the iterative grounded theory, which deals with organizational process research. Thus, we were able to analyse the dynamics in the knowledge transfer process despite its high level of complexity. Due to this complicated essence of the knowledge transfer process, we were unable to explore it entirely and could not acquire all necessary information. However, we still contribute with novelty to the academic society, as previous research explores the static view of knowledge transfer and our research relies on its dynamics.

Results: The process of knowledge transfer and how it evolves is illustrated with the necessary phases for its accomplishment. The first model, which demonstrates the dynamic nature of the knowledge transfer process during M&As, is presented. In order to positively influence the transfer of knowledge, enablers should be applied. The second model highlights the importance of planning the process of knowledge transfer within the post-acquisition phase during M&As. Lastly, constraints from the employees’ side can influence the transfer of knowledge. The importance to consider enablers and constraints during the knowledge transfer is also emphasised.

Theoretical implications: We urge that more research should accentuate on the process nature of the knowledge transfer and should further explore its dynamics and complexity especially in the context of organizational changes, such as M&As.

Managerial implications: Managers should understand the evolving nature of the knowledge transfer process and strengthen their focus on the planning phase of knowledge transfer in order to minimize the issues during the post-acquisition phase.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 83 p.
Keyword [en]
M&A, M&As, dynamic, knowledge, knowledge transfer process, enablers, constraints
National Category
Social Sciences Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-107637ISRN: LIU-IEI-FIL-A--14/01815--SEOAI: diva2:726181
Subject / course
Master's Programme in Business Administration – Strategic
Available from: 2014-08-27 Created: 2014-06-17 Last updated: 2014-08-27Bibliographically approved

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