For companies that are internationalizing through foreign acquisitions, a major consideration is likely to be access to the technical and social knowledge of the local environment that executives of the acquired companies possess. Despite the importance of this consideration, the literature has not sufficiently addressed the issues it raises. Investigations of the factors that affect the departure of executives of acquired companies have until recently tended to overlook the question of the knowledge that leaves with them. The present paper discusses executive retention in cross-border acquisitions from a knowledge-based perspective. It analyzes three cases of such acquisitions in Brazil. The results show how knowledge can play a critical role in the acquirer's decision to retain or release owners and/or executives after the acquisition. In addition to conventional variables, the characteristics of the knowledge of the acquired companies' owners and/or executives emerge as essential to explain their retention. This paper argues that evaluating the knowledge the acquired company's owners and/or executives possess, especially regarding its degree of tacitness, is one basis for decisions on their retention.

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BAR - Brazilian Administration Review
Erasmus School of Economics

Child, J., Gonzalez Duarte, R., Tanure, B., & Rodrigues, S. (2012). Access to tacit knowledge by executive retention in cross-border acquisitions. BAR - Brazilian Administration Review, 9(3), 329–350. doi:10.1590/S1807-76922012000300006