Corporate Purpose and Acquisitions
50 Pages Posted: 26 Mar 2021
Date Written: March 24, 2021
This study analyzes the relationship between acquisitions—a centerpiece of corporate strategy—and employees’ sense of purpose. Using data from more than 1.5 million employees, we find that purpose is substantially weaker in companies following recent acquisitions. This association is driven by unique acquisitions and those with opaque disclosed rationales. We explore the performance implications of this relationship. We first isolate the component of purpose directly attributable to the deal, and then relate this component to subsequent performance. We find that deals associated with stronger purpose outperform, and those with weaker purpose do not. Together, our evidence suggests a possible tension between strategic and motivational determinants of acquisition success: while firms benefit strategically from uniqueness, it may also erode the sense of purpose within firms.
Keywords: Mergers and Acquisitions, Corporate Purpose, Corporate Strategy
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