Building organizational (dis-)abilities: The impact of learning on the performance of mergers and acquisitions Defended on Friday, 13 March 2020

As the number and size of merger and acquisition (M&A) deals increases globally, firms need to learn how to successfully execute M&As. There are three main ways in which this learning occurs. First, firms learn experientially, i.e., from their experience. Second, they learn contextually by deliberately observing the characteristics of the target firm and how the relationship with the target evolves over time before making consequential decisions. Third, they learn vicariously, i.e. by monitoring the behavior of third parties in order to draw relevant information on when, what, and how to acquire.

In the three studies that comprise this dissertation, I contribute to existing knowledge on the relation between learning and M&A performance by investigating learning dynamics that are unaddressed in the literature. In the first study, I analyze the impact of firms’ domestic M&A experience on the performance of their cross-border acquisitions. In the second study, I examine how the response of an acquirer to a target’s pre-deal performance affects the relation between the top management teams (TMTs) of the firms, reverberating, ultimately, on post-deal performance. In the third study, I investigate how the reactions of market participants, such as investors and financial analysts, to an acquisition announcement reduce information asymmetries between the acquirer and the target thereby influencing the acquirer’s decision to proceed or abandon an initiated deal. Together, these studies present a more nuanced, counterintuitive perspective on the role of information and learning in the context of M&A.


M&A; cross-border acquisitions; acquisition experience; domestic experience; HQ involvement; organizational learning; pre-deal target performance; TMT conflict; target prices; analyst recommendations; investor reactions

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