Chapter summary

This chapter adopts a sociological view of mergers and acquisitions (M&As) as a set of social practices and examines the intimate connections between institutions, practitioners, practices and processes. We have chosen M&A as a topic to include in our investigation of practicing strategy for the following reasons:

  1. M&A is one of the most significant corporate actions companies can take and in the last 5 years, US$126.6 trillion of deals were transacted (2007–2011 inclusive).
  2. There is longstanding and continuing data to show that M&A are highly problematic phenomena which traditional research approaches have failed to fully understand.
  3. Traditional strategy research into M&A has tended to adopt cross sectional quantitative approaches concerned with finance, performance and policy issues.

It is only fairly recently that strategy researchers have taken the process approach seriously and adopted a much broader range of methods – indeed for several years there have been calls for methodological pluralism. A practice approach is therefore a) needed (to more fully explain the well documented problems of M&A) and b) novel in this context. This chpater outlines such approach.

Keywords: mergers and acquisitions; practitioners, practices and praxis