Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Integrated)


School of Business


Over $3 trillion was spent on merger and acquisition (M&A) transactions in 2020 (Bain & Company 2020), yet the vast majority of these transactions fail (Cartwright & McCarthy 2005; Harding & Rouse 2007). As Christensen, Alton, Rising and Waldeck (2011) report, 70-90% of acquisitions fail to achieve what they set out to do.

Research indicates that the high failure rates of M&A are not attributable to strategic and financial factors, on which the majority of research focuses, but human factors (Datta et al. 1992; King et al. 2004; Butler, Perryman & Ranft 2012). Companies undertake M&A for a range of reasons; increasingly these include the desire to access knowledge faster than it can be developed internally (Boateng, Qian & Tianle 2008). It makes sense that the process of acquiring knowledge requires the careful management of the people who hold that knowledge. However, the perspectives of important stakeholders who hold targeted knowledge – acquired employees – are highly underrepresented in the literature, and thus are not well understood (Haspeslagh & Jemison 1991; Weber & Tarba 2010; Graebner 2004). Graebner, Heimeriks, Huy & Vaara (2017) undertook a meta-analysis of over 300 articles and books focused on postmerger integration and identified that despite decades of research being undertaken the drivers of why M&A outcomes are poor for individuals and organisations are still not known.

FoR codes (2008)




Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.