DISSERTATION

ANYTHING LOST INSIDE THE BLACK-BOX? A STUDY OF LEARNING BY TEACHING IN POST-MERGER INTEGRATION

The development of knowledge and capabilities has long been the center of attention among strategy scholars. Scholars in organizational studies have often focused on two major learning mechanisms: experiential learning and vicarious learning. This study introduces an additional learning mechanism that has been neglected in the management literature. In this paper, I attempt to identify the learning benefits of mergers, which are distinct from synergy effects, that incumbents may take advantage of during their interactions with their newly joined affiliates. I argue that the integration process provides the parent firm with an opportunity to teach the acquired firm the parent’s systems and routines, which subsequently triggers an opportunity for the parent to re-evaluate and reinforce their current capabilities. Traditional studies in organizational learning build upon the premise of acquisition of new knowledge related to improving a focal activity. This paper adopts a different angle by proposing the possibility of firms learning from their own capabilities and improving without the pre-requisite of acquiring new knowledge. Using data from the U.S. commercial banking industry from 1998 to 2013, I examine a learning by teaching effect associated with bank holding companies who acquire new banks and the conditions that facilitate the efficacy of the proposed mechanism. In the empirical analysis, I find evidence that subsequent to an acquisition, there is improvement in loan quality of the parent firm’s pre-existing affiliates especially when the parent and acquired firm share similar capabilities. This paper finds its novelty in exploring and developing a construct of learning by teaching and its pragmatic implication for managers who are involved in post-merger integrations. 

Committee members: Gautam Ahuja (Chair), Seth Carnahan, Christopher Williams, Mark Mizruchi


WORKING PAPERS

What am I getting myself into? The effects of capability-enhancing and capability-identifying learning on firm expansions (with John Chen, Vivek Tandon, and Brian Wu)

(Presented at 2015 Academy of Management Annual Conference)


WORK IN PROGRESS

Strategic interaction and second degree exploitation: The diffusion of under-utilized knowledge

(Presented at 2014 Strategic Management Society Annual Conference) 

Constraints or opportunities? The double-edged role of market competition on expansion strategy (with Vivek Tandon and Brian Wu)

(Presented at 2013 Strategic Management Society Annual Conference)