The function-specific microfoundations of dynamic capabilities in cross-border mergers and acquisitions
Abstract In mergers and acquisitions, the acquiring firm must combine two firms’ resources and capabilities so that the outcome yields value. In individual firms, the marketing & sales, and R&D functions have typically developed intertwined and complex relationships over time. These multifaceted dependencies may obscure the integration of the firms and their functions. In order to reveal to what extent cross-functional relationships determine the success or failure of an acquisitions, we have made one of the first attempts to study merging firms’ function-specific capabilities, underlying microfoundations, and their cross-functional relationships during the integration process—instead of focusing on acquisition capabilities as such. We use longitudinal data from two cross-border acquisitions between US and Finnish SMEs. Our results indicate that major differences between merging firms’ cross-functional microfoundations—that is, their structures, processes, routines, and skills—might either enforce or erode the seemingly promising synergies at the product and market levels, depending on managerial awareness of their nature.