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Keywords:

  • mergers and acquisitions;
  • coevolution;
  • exploration and exploitation;
  • organizational change;
  • technology;
  • top management teams

Abstract

Merger and acquisition activity is a critical means by which technology firms obtain the resources needed to compete in global markets. Effective implementation is essential to making these acquisitions successful, yet prior research on the implementation process has yielded paradoxical findings. I argue that a closer examination of the role of the acquired managers helps to resolve the implementation dilemmas found in prior research, which has focused on the role of the acquiring firm. I use grounded theory-building techniques to examine the integration of eight technology acquisitions, and find that acquired managers play a key role in achieving two types of value: expected and serendipitous. In promoting the realization of these two types of value, acquired leaders maintain the advantages of both integration and autonomy. Moreover, these leaders enable their organizations to simultaneously experience two often-conflicting forms of change: exploration and exploitation. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.