Theorizing in the qualitative study of mergers & acquisitions


Theorizing is an essential part of academic work and publishing. Yet, too little is known on how academics theorize. This paper focuses on theorizing in the study of mergers and acquisitions (M&As), a globally significant inter-organizational phenomenon. We analyze 76 qualitative papers on M&As published in leading management journals between 1966–2016. We identify five modes of theorizing in the study of M&As. We find that M&A scholars make theoretical contributions using different theoretical positioning and research design strategies. The majority of the papers offer a contribution to middle-range theorizing (i.e., the literature on M&As), while a third of the papers also contribute to higher-order, or grand theories in management. In closing, this leads us to call for a rejuvenation of middle-range theorizing in management research.


Authors: Satu Teerikangas, Helene Colman

Teerikangas and Colman 2020 (pdf)