Chapter 1: The role of trust in mergers and acquisitions: a conceptual framework and empirical evidence
There is a massive and rapidly growing body of research on the sociocultural and human resources issues involved in the integration of acquired or merging firms. Variables such as cultural fit (Björkman et al., 2007; Stahl and Voigt, 2008; Weber et al., 1996), management style similarity (Datta and Grant, 1990; Larsson and Finkelstein, 1999), the combining firms’ interaction history (Porrini, 2004), the pattern of dominance between merging firms (Cartwright and Cooper, 1996; Hitt et al., 2001), the acquirer’s degree of cultural tolerance (Chatterjee et al., 1992; Pablo, 1994), issues of procedural and distributive justice (Ellis et al., 2009; Meyer and Altenborg, 2007), attention to cultural and HR issues in the due diligence process (Gebhardt, 2003; Pucik et al., 2010), the acquirer’s leadership philosophy and style (Kavanagh and Ashkanasy, 2006; Sitkin and Pablo, 2005) and, more broadly, the social climate surrounding a merger (Birkinshaw et al., 2000; Vaara, 2003) have increasingly been recognized as being critical to the success of the post-merger integration. Another potentially important, but underexplored, factor in the success of mergers and acquisitions (M & A) is trust. Indirect evidence about the critical role of trust in the M & A process can be drawn from a large body of research that suggests that the development of trust is critical to the successful formation and implementation of cooperative alliances between firms, such as joint ventures, research and development (R & D) collaborations, and marketing partnerships (Child, 2001; Inkpen and Currall, 2004; Krishnan et al., 2006; Zaheer et al., 1998).
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