اتصال به سطح خرد و کلان: گزاره ای از یک طرح تحقیقاتی در بررسی هم افزایی پس از اکتساب از طریق رویکرد شبکه های اجتماعی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|4177||2012||15 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Scandinavian Journal of Management, Volume 28, Issue 2, June 2012, Pages 121–135
The paper discusses the contribution of social network analysis to study synergy creation following an acquisition. As the approach allows for a multi-level analysis, addressing the macro- and the micro-level of analysis as interactive settings, it offers an exciting alternative to prevailing research on mergers and acquisitions. We present a research design building on the combination of structural and qualitative interview data to study the evolution of synergy creation throughout the acquisition process. We build on a case study to highlight the concrete process of data collection, processing, and analysis.
The study of organization and human resource related issues has received a great amount of attention among scholars seeking to shed light on processes and forces shaping the implementation and outcome of mergers and acquisitions (M&A). Prominent topics under study have been the confrontation of distinct corporate cultures, effects of the chosen integration level and design on innovation capabilities, the evolution of employees’ identification with the merged entity, or the driving forces of top management turnover. However, findings only provide with a limited comprehension of the complex dynamics at work when merging two previously independent organizations. One inherent reason to this difficulty to build a more substantial theoretical framework of M&A integration relies, as we argue, on the unilateral focus of existing studies on either the micro or the macro level of analysis. Studies on M&A tend to focus either on the individuals inside the merging firms, thus analyzing their attitudes, behavior and perceptions on the micro level of analysis, or on the organization as a whole, discussing integration issues and processes on the macro-level. The way both levels interact and influence each other, i.e. how individuals’ reactions to the merger impact on the organizational structure and vice versa, how the organizational structure shapes the behavior and relations of employees is less addressed. The purpose of the paper is to present a research design based on a social network approach that aims at studying the creation of post-acquisition synergies at both, the micro and the macro level. Synergy creation is one of the most important drivers of post-acquisition performance and relies fundamentally on organizational and individual cooperation (Larsson & Finkelstein, 1999). The underlying assumption of social network analysis is that actors (individuals, groups, organizations, etc.) are interdependent and shape by their interactions the structure of the network they are part of. The action and behavior of one actor therefore is influenced by those of his alters, i.e. actors s/he is related to. The social network perspective focuses on relationships, unlike “standard” social science analysis where the focal point is rather on attributes of autonomous individual units. In this perspective, as we will argue, the creation of synergies relies on the emergence of relationships, such as operational cooperation, the transfer of resources, between members of both firms whose behavior is further strongly influenced by the social structures they are embedded in. In a first section, we review M&A research as regards the adopted level of analysis. In a second section, we introduce the social network approach, its scientific roots, main concepts and principles. In a third section, we present the research design that was developed in relation to a concrete case study. We will start by presenting the case study and describe then in detail the way data was collected and processed. In a fourth section we will highlight the process of data analysis and illustrate with some concrete findings how the combination of structural and qualitative interview allowed for addressing synergy creation as a multi-level process. The last fifth section concludes and discusses contributions and limits of the proposed approach.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The paper developed a research design for studying post-acquisition synergy creation with a social network approach. It discussed the way structural and qualitative interview data were collected and processed in the context of a single case study. The combination of both data types in a longitudinal setting was crucial to capture and interpret the observed relational patterns through a multi-level perspective and to appropriately comprehend structural evolutions in time. As we attached to demonstrate, the network approach enables to shed new light on the way post-acquisition synergies actually emerge and evolve in time. An important contribution is here the capacity of analyzing organizational integration and synergy creation as a multi-level phenomena. The structural analysis of inter-firm relations on the macro level notably allows for concretely “grasping” the relations that develop between the acquisition partners. In the same time, it highlights structural evolutions inside each firm that have direct impacts on the positions and resources of individual actors on the micro level. These individuals and their positions influence, in turn, the shape of the overall combined network structure. On the macro level, analysis allowed for concretely “grasping” the relations that developed between acquisition partners and that promoted in turn the creation of synergies. At the same time, it highlighted structural evolutions inside each firm that impact on the capacity and disposition of its individual members to engage in such inter-firm ties. We underlined notably the important scarification of the acquired firm's internal network as well as the reinforcement of conflicts between sub-groups following the acquisition that made bonding with the acquiring firm an opportunity. The fears of competition and depreciation that developed at the acquirer and that lowered significantly their disposition to create synergies by collaborating with consultants from the acquired firm, did not have the same impeding effect at the latter. Here, structural evolutions and notably the decrease of consultants’ social capital made bonding with consultants from the acquirer an interesting opportunity. On the micro level, we identified individual network properties that favored the engagement in synergy promoting ties. We notably found central positions inside each firm's network to significantly promote the engagement in collaborative ties as centrality provide individuals with a higher amount of resources to share, favor their propensity to take risks and make them more attractive cooperation partners (Burt, 1995). These individuals form what we called a core of acquisition brokers, i.e. individuals who act at the intersection of both firms and promote through their relations importantly the emergence of synergies between them. They act as what Burt refers to as “network entrepreneurs”, i.e. people who positively promote coordination between groups since their connection to each of them makes them more aware of problems and reluctances that might impede on coordinative efforts. M&A research has discussed the importance of individual actors in line with work on key people whose retention is of particular strategic importance to M&A success. Although the term has widely marked especially business literature on M&A integration, relatively little is actually known about the characteristics of such individuals that make them “key” to the organization. In general, key people are associated with special knowledge holders, i.e. individuals who detain unique knowledge that is vital for the future organization, or managers who have particular insights on organizational processes and whose departure would cause important disruptions in work flows (Zollo & Singh, 2004). In the here proposed perspective, key people are rather those individuals who push forward the emergence of relations between both firms and thus contribute fundamentally to the building up of the new organization, the creation of synergies and thus acquisition success. Newly hired employees were found here to play a particular central role. In light of the absence of any history with either organization, they occupied a more neutral position towards both groups and developed more easily a dual identification as members belonging to both of them. Finally, the proposed research design allows for a concrete evaluation of the extent and structure of synergistic relations that emerged in time. It moreover enables to assess the role of organizational members in the implementation of the acquisition project in a more substantive way than usually presented in M&A research where human impacts on post-acquisition performance are mostly approached in a more indirect way. The proposed research design allows in the contrary for establishing a straight relationship between human behavior and synergy creation, and thus M&A performance. Our case study regrouped rather ideal research conditions, especially as it was possible to gather real-time data in the early stages of the acquisition. In addition, synergy creation relied here exclusively on interindividual relationships between consultants from both firms, so that all kinds of possible synergies could actually be captured by the developed approach. Adopted to other case studies, the presented research design might present several limits and difficulties. One important barrier is the access to valuable data. Social network analysis necessitates complete data sets, which means that network data for every member of a given network has to be assessed. Response rates thus have to be very high, or even exhaustive, since the missing of information on one single actor's links might change the overall network structure in important ways. The collection of such complete data sets is particularly difficult in the situation of a merger where organizational members might be rather reluctant to communicate personal information about their relationships with co-workers. Further, the position in a social network being strongly related to power and influence, individuals might depict an embellished picture of their personal networks, notably in a situation where the merger can create uncertainties as regards future career developments or simply the preservation of one's employment in the new firm. Another significant issue in collecting network data is linked to time constraints induced by the evolutionary angle of the research design. Not only data has to be gathered at several moments in time, but also, in order to establish the structure and patterns of networks as they existed prior to the M&A, the first data collection has to be carried out previous to the acquisition, or right after before any integration has yet been engaged. This is notably problematic with respect to the short time span that exists between the moment the acquisition is made public and the first exchanges between the firms. Further, this period being particularly energy and time demanding, management might not be available or willing to participate in any kind of research project, whatever the method. Whereas the presented case study concentrated on post-acquisition synergy creation in the form of collaborations and knowledge transfer (which was not further developed here), the research design can be adapted to the analysis of various other types of relationships which shape and are shaped the acquisition process and organizational integration. Topics such as the evolution of trust between organizational members, value and culture sharing, inter-organizational communication patterns or simply the evolution of formal linkages to address integration design may fruitfully be highlighted by a network approach. Similarly, the unit of analysis to consider might not be the individual members of the firm, but organizational sub-units such as departments or divisions. Finally, the analysis also allows for exploring M&A induced shifts in the ties that the acquirer maintains with his environment, such as relationships with suppliers, clients or competitors.