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Methods in M&A—A look at the past and the future to forge a path forward

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date06/2012
JournalScandinavian Journal of Management
Journal number2
Volume28
Number of pages12
Pages95-106
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Though the field of M&A has come under increasing criticism for its lack of providing theories and explanations of the phenomenon under study, M&A, less attention has been paid to a promising ‘suspect’ behind this state of affairs: the methodological choices used in the study of M&A. Basing ourselves on a symposium on qualitative methods in the study of M&A at the Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management (Cartwright, Teerikangas, Rouzies, Wilson, & Tienari, 2009), and further inspired by the call of Meglio and Risberg (2010) for a rejuvenation of M&A research, we engage in this introduction to our Special Issue on ‘Methods in M&A’ into a two-fold exploration. For one, we look at the past by engaging in a review of published top-tier M&A research that we analyze from both thematical and methodological lenses. This ‘rear mirror perspective’ allows us to identify methodological gaps in the study of M&A, in so doing prompting calls for action going forward. For another, we gauge into the future through the lenses of the papers appearing in this Special Issue. Taken together, these explorations in time into the past and the future enable us to identify areas of forthcoming methodological foci and engagement in the study of M&A. In conclusion, we call for a broader span of attention as regards the (1) focus of analysis: the firm or the network; (2) ‘bridging’ of themes, methods, levels of analysis, units of analysis, literatures and theoretical lenses; (3) research philosophical underpinnings; and (4) foci of qualitative research in the study of M&A. Looking forward, we foresee a promising future for research prospects on M&A that we hope this Special Issue will have in its part helped to spark and inspire.