The mergers and acquisitions (M&A) literature is vast, spanning over half a century of research endeavor and drawing upon multiple disciplinary perspectives. Despite this wealth of material, the field suffers from a lack of connectedness. There is limited and compartmentalized understanding of the complexities of the M&A process, as the various streams of M&A research are only marginally informed by one another. As a result, the existing body of knowledge on M&A research remains fragmented. There is a need to establish links between existing approaches to M&A and the critical success factors they each promote. In this article, the need for a pluralistic and holistic explanatory framework that reflects the multidisciplinary nature of M&A is highlighted. The article shows that dynamic relationships between different perspectives on M&A and critical success factors matter. Identifying these relationships may help to further our understanding about M&A performance outcomes. Thus, the paper focuses on both relationships within each stage and between stages of the M&A process. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.