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Title: The impact of prior experience on acquisition behaviour and performance : an integrated examination of corporate acquisitions in the USA and UK
Author: Dionne, Steven Scott
ISNI:       0000 0000 5979 0693
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2008
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The objective of the thesis is to advance the concept of learning by explicating the mechanisms contributing to knowledge accumulation and its transfer to new situations. On the basis of 44 case studies, the framework is refined to accurately capture the unique features and outcomes of experiential knowledge in acquisitions. Feedback from the performance of prior acquisitions was found to enrich representations of action-outcome linkages and modify procedures in search and valuation. Inferential transfer though depended on similar kinds of features emerging in subsequent decisions. Outcomes therefore reflected the integration of feedback processes and similarity judgments. From the case studies, a set of hypotheses was developed and their plausibility tested, using another data set on the acquisitions of 687 managers. The research finds that the performance of prior decisions and the similarity to prior experiences materially impact behaviour. Poor performance in prior, similar acquisitions led to a reduction in subsequent risk behaviour, illustrated by the extent of risk management and by the lessening of commitment to specific transactions. The impact of performance feedback was also extant in the similarity of choice to prior experiences. The results illustrate that although feedback shapes perceptions of likelihood and expected value, similarity judgments moderate the impact of prior performance on behaviour. Given the impact on acquisition behaviour, the research also illustrates that prior experiences do not necessarily increase performance. Adaptation from prior failures was not unambiguously linked to positive returns, suggesting limitations from feedback mechanisms. Rather, the extent and similarity of acquisition experience led to a reduction in the variability of performance. By providing a framework for selecting planning procedures, greater experience tended to reduce surprises post-acquisition.
Supervisor: Angwin, Duncan Sponsor: ORS ; St Edmund Hall Graduate Scholarship
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Business and Management ; Organisational behaviour ; Strategic management ; Mergers & acquisitions ; Performance feedback ; Similarity judgment ; Risk management ; Escalation of commitment ; Experiential knowledge ; Adaptation