Transfer effects in large acquisitions: How size-specific experience matters

KM Ellis, Taco Reus, BT Lamont, AL Ranft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

124 Citations (Scopus)


We examine whether size-specific experience influences performance following large related, domestic acquisitions. Supporting a transfer theory of learning, our results suggest that although prior experience in making large, related acquisitions transfers positively to this focal situation, experience in making small related acquisitions hurts firm performance. We find that bidder-to-target dissimilarity in product offerings and geographic reach exacerbates the negative effects of experience in small related acquisitions. In contrast, perceived dissimilarity in organizational cultures curbs these negative effects. Moreover, retaining acquired top managers and engaging in less integration in large related acquisitions both aid acquirers in better drawing on experiences from smaller related acquisitions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1261-1276
Number of pages16
JournalAcademy of Management Journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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