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The Culture–Performance Relationship in M&A: From Yes/No to How



Do cultural differences have an impact on the performance of M&A? Despite the widely accepted myth that they do, and in a negative way, a review of extant research provides contradictory findings. In this article, we explore reasons for this contradiction and propose solutions in the form of propositions and a theoretical framework. We begin with a brief overview of extant research on the culture-performance relationship in M&A. In light of the contradictions emerging from this review, we move on to identifying three areas of complexity explaining this confusion, and for each one, we suggest propositions to guide future research. We then summarize our argument using a theoretical framework. Because of the long-term and dynamic nature of the M&A process, we argue that instead of studying the simple performance impact of cultural differences in M&A, we should move on to thinking how cultural differences impact on the M&A process and its outcome.