The effect of acquisitions on environmental performance: Evaluating the role of primary stakeholders

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This study examines how acquisitions influence corporate environmental performance by integrating theoretical notions from organizational learning and stakeholder literature. We posit that firms can improve environmental performance following acquisitions by learning from their targets. However, this depends on the environmental knowledge and capabilities of the target relative to those of the acquiring firm. We further suggest that change in environmental performance following acquisitions does not only depend on the target firms, but also on the acquirers’ primary stakeholder groups. We test our hypotheses by analyzing longitudinal data on 380 acquisitions of public, US-based acquirers. We find that acquirers with a strong orientation towards customers, employees and suppliers are more likely to learn from their acquisition targets. Furthermore, we show that the reaction of shareholders to acquisition announcements also determines the extent to which firms improve environmental performance following acquisitions. Our results underline the importance of primary stakeholders in achieving environmental performance improvements following strategic actions. With this research, we contribute to literature on M&As by going beyond the implications of acquisitions on financial firm value. We further contribute to stakeholder literature by providing insights on the role of primary stakeholders for organizational learning.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAcademy of Management Proceedings
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2022


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