Building on behavioral theory, we study when and how firms unlock synergy from acquisitions over extended periods of time. We argue that initial integration is inevitably suboptimal and that, as a result, acquisitive growth decreases an acquirer's performance, eventually forcing it to engage in organizational restructuring to more fully unlock the synergistic potential. Hence, we conceptualize organizational restructuring as a second stage in the integration process. Moreover, we theorize about how acquisition-restructuring cycles evolve as firms gain acquisition and restructuring experience. We tested our theory using panel data on firms undertaking almost 1,600 acquisitions over four decades.

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Keywords consolidation and merger of cooperations, corporate reorganizations, industrial policy, organizational behavior, organizational learning, strategic planning
Persistent URL
Series ERIM Top-Core Articles
Journal Academy of Management Journal
Barkema, H.G, & Schijven, M.P.G. (2008). Towards unlocking the full potential of acquisitions: The role of organizational restructuring. Academy of Management Journal, 696–722. Retrieved from