Sub-theme 20: M&A Activity in Times of Turbulence: Reshaping Environments, Organizations and Individuals?

Philippe Véry
EDHEC Business School, Nice, France
Satu Teerikangas
University College London, UK
Mélanie Hassett
Turku School of Economics, University of Turku, Finland

Call for Papers


Mergers and acquisitions (M&As) are considered appealing vehicles for corporate renewal. A closer look highlights that historically, this activity has followed economic cycles; since the end of the 19th century, six M&A waves have been witnessed (Kolev et al., 2012). From the above, it appears that changes in the business environment affect firms’ propensity to engage in M&A activity. Despite this contingency in M&A activity, current M&A theorizing has maintained a neutral stance, treating this inter-organizational encounter as one ‘devoid’ of context, be it empirically or theoretically.

In this call for papers, we posit M&As, instead, as active shapers of the organizational and environmental contexts in which they occur. In contrast, much of the extant theorizing has seemingly omitted the effects that M&As have on the surrounding business environments, industrial ecologies and societies. For example, what are the implications of ongoing M&A activity on the shape and make-up of regional and industrial landscapes? In a similar vein, research appears to largely ignore the context in which the target and acquiring companies operate (Angwin & Vaara, 2005). Taking a network perspective, recent research has highlighted the effect of M&As on suppliers and customers (Anderssen, Havila & Salmi, 2001). How about the impact of M&As on other stakeholders such as investors, labour unions, industries, to mention a few?

Beyond treating M&A activity in a seeming environmental void, we further argue that by focusing largely on individual transactions, extant research has in part overlooked the impact that M&A activity has on the shape and trajectory of the modern organization and individuals therein. Many modern multinationals have grown through acquisitions. What is the impact of this activity on these organizations with respect to their organizational cultures, identities, political or emotional dynamics (Barkema & Schijven, 2008; Teerikangas, 2012)? Moreover, with the increasing pace of M&A activity, acquirers are closing deals, while engaged in securing the integration of previous transactions. Clearly, a focus on individual acquisitions appears, in part, simplistic. By shedding light on firm-level acquisition strategies, recent advances on serial acquirers and acquisition programs are a welcome development (Laamanen & Keil, 2008). Beyond a strategic perspective, though, what are the implications of this activity on the organization at large (Barkema & Schijven, 2008)?

This empirical focus on individual transactions has come to be reflected in M&A research having become largely self-reliant. As contributions are often made into the M&A literature, the broader implications of M&A activity on organizational theorizing remain to be explored. In this respect, we note that theories of organizations do not account for the acquisitive nature of today’s organizations. We argue that M&A scholars have a role to play in introducing the effects of M&A activity onto the broader theoretical discourses shaping organizational analyses. We consider M&A activity to influence the very nature and future trajectory of the participating organizations and the individuals therein. In this respect, we call for M&A research to move beyond treating M&A ‘in theoretical void’ to considering the impacts this activity has on organization theorizing at large and on our appreciation of behaviour in organizations.

We look forward to receiving papers exploring M&As from the following lenses and levels of analysis:

1. M&A activity, institutions, business fields and organizations:

  • Institutional perspectives to M&A activity
  • M&A in shaping societies, industries, labour markets and business fields
  • M&A activity within the context of business relationships and networks
  • Stakeholders and M&A activity

2. Serial acquirers and acquisition programs:

  • Serial acquirers (re)shaping the surrounding competitive and institutional landscapes
  • Acquisition programs and serial acquirers’ strategies contributing to re-draw firm boundaries
  • Theorizing on organizations behaving as serial acquirers
  • Methodologies to use for studying acquisition programs and serial acquirers

3. Organizing and managing an acquisition:

  • M&As reshaping organizations
  • M&As informing organization and management theorizing
  • M&A informing our appreciation of organizational cultures, identities, politics, dynamic capabilities and routines
  • M&A and organizational identity formation
  • M&A and organizational politics



Anderssen, Helén, Virpi Havila & Asta Salmi (2001): 'Can you buy a business relationship? On the importance of customer and supplier relationship in acquisitions.' Industrial Marketing Management, 30 (7), pp. 575–586.
Angwin, Duncan & Eero Vaara (2005): 'Introduction to the special issues. "Connectivity" in merging organizations: beyond traditional cultural perspectives.' Organization Studies, 26 (10), pp. 1445–1453.
Barkema, Harry G. & Mario Schijven (2008): 'Toward unlocking the full potential of acquisitions: the role of organizational restructuring.' Academy of Management Journal, 51 (4), pp. 55–77.
Kolev, Kalin, Jerayr Haleblian & Gerry McNamara (2012): 'A Review of the Merger and Acquisition Wave Literature: History, Antecedents, Consequences and Future Directions.' In: David Faulkner, Satu Teerikangas & Richard J. Joseph (eds.): Handbook of Mergers and Acquisitions. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Laamanen, Tomi & Thomas Keil (2008): 'Performance of serial acquirers: toward an acquisition program perspective.' Strategic Management Journal, 29 (6), pp. 663–672.
Teerikangas, Satu (2012): 'Silent forces shaping the performance of cross-border acquisitions.' In: David Faulkner, Satu Teerikangas & Richard J. Joseph (eds.): Handbook of Mergers and Acquisitions. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Philippe Véry is Professor in Strategy at EDHEC Business School in Nice, France. His research on M&A has been published in numerous leading management journals. He currently heads the M&A Research Centre at EDHEC.
Satu Teerikangas is Lecturer at University College London, UK. Her work explores post-acquisition integration dynamics and the methods in its study. In addition to journal publications, she recently edited the "Handbook of M&A" (Oxford University Press).
Mélanie Hassett is a visiting post-doctoral researcher at Oxford Brookes University, UK. Her work focuses on value creation and the sociocultural dynamics in cross-border M&A. Her work features in the 'Baltic Journal of Management' and 'Advances in Mergers and Acquisitions'.