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When Forgetting is the Key – The Value of Unlearning Activities during Post-Acquisition Integration

Sven Kunisch, Carola Wolf & Johannes Quodt

abstract Gaining access to externally created knowledge is often the driving force behind mergers and acquisitions (M&As). Despite the knowledge acquisition and learning opportunities that M&As provide, leveraging the benefits is often difficult to achieve due to organizational misfit and failure in the integration process. While the importance of embedding learning activities into post-acquisition is widely known, the flipside of learning – namely unlearning – is often neglected.

In this article, we spotlight the role of unlearning activities to reconcile organizational misfit during post-acquisition integration. We suggest three organizational misfit dimensions, which potentially impede M&A success. Furthermore, we suggest that post-acquisition integration is more than simply transferring knowledge from the acquired to the acquiring firm; it also involves the substitution and deletion of established but obsolete knowledge – that is, unlearning – to pave the way for new learning, to reconcile misfit during integration and, ultimately, to make a merger or acquisition a success
   
type journal paper
   
keywords M&A, mergers, acquisitions, post-merger integration, post-acquisition integration, organizational unlearning, organizational misfit, performance
   
language English
kind of paper journal article
date of appearance 11-2010
journal Performance
publisher Ernst & Young (Eschborn)
ISSN 1869-0505
ISSN (online) 1866-3923
volume of journal 3
number of issue 1
page(s) 5-13
review internal review
   
citation Kunisch, S., Wolf, C., & Quodt, J. (2010). When Forgetting is the Key – The Value of Unlearning Activities during Post-Acquisition Integration. Performance, 3(1), 5-13.