Upgrading without formal integration in M&A : the role of social integration

Rui Torres de Oliveira, Sreevas Sahasranamam, Sandra Figueira, Justin Paul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)


Research summary: By adopting a phenomenon-based research approach, we examine the case of an emerging market (EM) supplier upgrading its position in the automotive global value chain (GVC) through the acquisition of a technologically advanced firm from a developed market (DM). Drawing on GVC and social integration literature, we explore the role of social integration adopted by the EM acquirer to achieve upgrading through acquisition. We develop a conceptual framework where we explain the different social integration mechanisms that EM multinationals employ before and after acquisitions to achieve upgrading. Managerial summary: When analyzing an EM firm acquiring a DM firm we found that social integration is a key factor that enables knowledge transfer, particularly if no formal or structural integration occurs. This suggests that the development of mechanisms to facilitate strong socially integrated relationships with acquired firms is central for such type of acquisitions. Our research shows that EM firm managers need to put in place combinations of social integration mechanisms during different phases of the acquisition. Environmental and cognitive social integration mechanisms are crucial for gaining initial legitimacy. Furthermore, affective social integration is important for initiating process and functional upgrading, while cognitive social integration mechanisms become important for initiating intersectorial upgrading.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)619-652
Number of pages34
JournalGlobal Strategy Journal
Issue number3
Early online date30 Sep 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020


  • mergers and acquisitions (M&A)
  • global value chains
  • China
  • emerging market multinationals
  • social integration
  • emerging market
  • upgrading


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