The Influence of Culture on Successful Cooperation
Edited by Jan Ulijn, Geert Duysters and Elise Meijer
Culture, Strategic Alliances, Mergers and Acquisitions: An Introduction
Elise Meijer, Geert Duysters and Jan Ulijn Over the past decades, we have witnessed a sharp upheaval in the number of external organizational modes such as strategic alliances and mergers and acquisitions (M&A).1 A large strand of literature has already reported on the benefits of these modes, for example the sharing of costs and risks, the learning of new skills and technologies and their role in international efforts of companies. In spite of the noted benefits, however, the track record of these external organizational modes paints a black picture. Most studies show that more than half of the strategic alliances and M&A do not prove to be successful. Traditionally, scholars focused on ‘hard’ factors like financial and strategic factors for explaining the success or failure of these external modes. More recently, however, research into more ‘soft’ factors such as organizational and human resources-linked subjects have increased in importance (Larsson and Finkelstein, 1999; Stahl and Voigt, 2008). This has led to a growing and emergent body of literature on the importance of culture for the success of strategic alliances and M&A.2 According to Hofstede (2001), culture can be treated as ‘the collective programming of the mind that distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from another’ (p. 9). As argued by among others Stahl and Voigt (2008), scholars have sought to explain the (under)performance of these external modes by variables such as cultural distance (Morosini et al., 1998; Simonin, 1999; Shenkar, 2001), cultural...