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Keywords:

  • strategic alliances;
  • post-acquisition performance;
  • experiments;
  • organizational architecture and design;
  • behavioral uncertainty and coordination

Abstract

We integrate insights from organization design, economic game theory, and social psychology to examine the role of prior resource allocation and communication in alleviating behavioral uncertainty arising in interunit coordination settings. We use the context of post-acquisition coordination, focusing on the extent to which routines created under one organizational architecture (i.e., interorganizational alliances) may transfer to another organizational architecture (i.e., internal divisional structures via acquisition of alliance partners). Using a randomized experimental design, we find that prior resource allocation decisions in the absence of prior communication lowers post-acquisition performance due to the development and transference of pre-acquisition stage routines that may be inappropriate post-acquisition. Post-acquisition performance is aided, however, by the formation of noncompetitive routines in the pre-acquisition stage in the presence of communication. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.