Transfer of knowledge-based resources from acquirers to the acquired units has been ubiquitously emphasized as an important driver of post-acquisition integration. Equally emphasized is the importance of recipient unit's absorptive capacity for the success of knowledge transfer and the facilitating role of HRM practices in developing absorptive capacity. In this paper, we integrate different streams of research on post-acquisition integration, knowledge transfer, absorptive capacity and HRM practices. Different from most past research, we pay attention theoretically and empirically to the multi-dimensional nature of both knowledge transfer and absorptive capacity. We test our hypotheses on a sample of acquired Chinese subsidiaries of 181 multinational corporations from seven countries. We find that successful inflow and implementation of knowledge require the acquired unit to have distinct types of capabilities each of which can be developed by a specific HRM practice. These results contribute literature by recognizing absorptive capacity as a manageable capability and identifying how different components of this capability could be developed by specific HRM practices. Furthermore, our results shed light on human side of M&As by examining how companies can foster post-acquisition integration by fine-tuning the absorptive capacity of acquired units.
- Absorptive capacity
- Cross-border knowledge transfer
- Emerging economies
- HRM practices
- Mergers and acquisitions