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Case Study Research in Mergers and Acquisitions

Special issue call for papers from Management Research

Journal cover.Guest Editors

Prof. Dr. En Xie
Organizations and Strategies in Emerging Economies
School of Management, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an, Shaanxi, People's Republic of China

Dr. K. S. Reddy
International Management,
School of Management, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an, Shaanxi, People's Republic of China

Backdrop of the Theme

A special issue of the Management Research Journal will focus on the most under examined temporal issue in the literature, that is, case study research in mergers and acquisitions.This call for papers is open to all streams in Management as well as all regions and continentals in the world.

The term, merger or acquisition, is defined, evaluated and used differently in different disciplines. For instance, economic researchers postulated that merger is the form of market for corporate control that arises due to economic, regulatory, or technology shocks. Likewise, finance scholars exhibited that acquisition is a choice of investment and accounting professionals described that merger is a combination or amalgamation of two or more balance sheets. While, strategy scholars defined that merger/acquisition (M&A) is an inorganic growth and aggressive strategic alternative, which helps a business enterprise in achieving accelerated growth than that of reaching organic growth. Historically, M&A concept is originally evolved in the western part and thereafter, has gradually, engulfed rest of the world due to liberalization, economic integration and globalization. Conversely, the existing literature has been dominated by finance and accounting discipline, followed by economics, organizations and strategic management, international business, law and sociology (Haleblian et al., 2009; Piekkari et al., 2009; Bengtsson and Larsson, 2012).

By and large, M&A is an interdisciplinary stream that allows all kinds of technical and non-technical scholars to draw conclusions and explore new perspectives. Based on methodological perspective, it is found that extant findings drew largely through quantitative or empirical methods. This is due to the availability of numerical data (stock price, accounting information), access and empirical fit. At the same time, management scholars have paid less attention to qualitative research in M&A stream. While, a number of issues refer to the use of qualitative methods in business management have been discussed in the academy meetings and leading journal editorials (Birkinshaw et al., 2011). For instance, Haleblian et al. (2009) found that only three per cent of articles have used case method in M&A research out of 167 articles published during 1992-2007 period.

On the other hand, case study research is the modest qualitative method in social sciences. Thus, case studies, case surveys, analytical cases, research cases and longitudinal cases are defined as qualitative case research design, which is a powerful ideographic tool for conducting non-empirical research, yet largely under practiced in M&A stream (Bengtsson and Larsson, 2012; Reddy, 2015; Stake, 1995).

Conceptually, case method is “an empirical inquiry that investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real life context, especially when the boundaries between phenomenon and context are not clear evident, and it relies on multiple sources of evidence” (Yin, 1994, p. 13). Similarly, Woodside (2010) defined as “an inquiry that focuses on describing, understanding, predicting, and/or controlling the individual” (i.e. process, animal, person, household, organization, group, industry, culture, or nationality). Hence, it has distinct merit to other qualitative methods. Case researchers use case method to answer “why and how” as well as to build new theory and suggest testable propositions based on in-depth case analysis that subject to single case or multiple cases (Eisenhardt, 1989; Hoon, 2013).

In the recent past, scholars have noticed that the revisiting, testing, reinforcing and building new theoretical constructs is essential (fairly lacked) in M&A stream, which could help to explore new knowledge and improve existing literature (Drauz, 2013; Geppert et al., 2013; Reddy et al., 2014). Taking things forward:

  • How does a negotiation happen and complete in M&A dialogue? (Weber and Tarba, 2012)
  • How does acquirer’s prior acquisition experience influence the continuing acquisition plans?
  • What motivates business enterprises to participate in M&A deals?
  • Why does a local or international deal become delay or fail?
  • What are the deal-specific factors affecting deal completion?
  • What are the firm- and industry-specific factors motivating firms to involve in local and international deals?
  • What are the most crucial country-specific determinants influencing the cross-border deal negotiations?
  • What role does print and electronic media play in M&A dialogue?
  • What should be an ideal deal structure?
  • Do toehold, non-compete agreement, cash payment, stock payment, proxy contest, economic status of participating nations and dual listing norms influence the negotiations in local and overseas settings?
  • What role does M&A advisory firms play in local and international deals?
  • How does the acquirer plan, implement and supervise post-merger integration stage? (Dauber, 2012)
  • What are the difficulties in cross-border merger integration strategy?
  • How does the acquirer overcome cultural issues in post-merger integration stage?
  • What role does human resource play in post-merger stage?

This special edition welcomes original submissions from all management streams that should be conducting in-depth case analysis or case research, with theory testing/ development in M&A subject. Further, case researchers are suggested to pursue and present important elements in case research design include data technique, sampling cases, sampling place, sampling period, triangulation, case study protocol, and quality and rigor (Yin, 1994; Hoon, 2013; Poulis et al., 2013).

With this note, guest editors wish to invite papers, but are not restricted to the following research themes:

  • Characteristics of acquirer and target firms
  • Motives of local vs. cross-border acquisitions in developed economies
  • Motives of local vs. cross-border acquisitions in emerging economies
  • Motives of emerging market firms participating in cross-border M&As
  • M&A dialogue – initiation stage
  • M&A dialogue – negotiation stage
  • M&A dialogue – integration stage
  • Deal-specific characteristics in local and international settings
  • Delay in negotiations … broken deal
  • Delay in negotiations … successful deal
  • Successful vs. unsuccessful deals in local and overseas environment
  • The first international acquisition experience
  • Prior acquisition experience in deal completion
  • Dating-before-marriage: Alliance-merger model
  • Prior alliance/joint venture and acquisition
  • International diversification through merger/acquisition
  • Takeover battle – target firm, acquirer vs. proxy
  • Takeover battle – target firm, acquirer vs. rival bidding
  • Private equity funding and successful acquisition
  • Post-merger integration – change management
  • Human resource role in the post-acquisition stage
  • Marketing integration after merger/acquisition
  • CEO reaction to complete vs. incomplete deals in local and overseas settings
  • Diversified business groups and acquisition experience
  • Single or Multiple case method
  • Longitudinal case study and analysis
  • Theory testing; and theory building research
  • Sector/industry-specific case study and analysis
  • Improved/extended version of teaching cases with analysis

Submission and Publication Information

Submission of First Draft via Online System: 29 February, 2016.
Initial decision: Within 10 days from the submission date
First round review comments returned to authors: 10 May 2016
Resubmission of first round selected papers: 10 July 2016
Final decision: 20 August 2016
Number of papers: 4 to 6 papers
Expected publication: First issue of 2017

Submission guidelines

The papers should discuss research and practical implications within the special issue theme. Indeed, we are especially looking for papers that shed light on case study settings. Prospective authors should submit their papers in a structured format that includes abstract, introduction, literature review, research design, discussions and conclusions. While, authors are suggested to present their Abstract in the Emerald style headings – Purpose, Design/Method, Findings, Research limitations, Practical implications, Originality/Value and Keywords, and Citation and References.    

Please feel free to contact us for any queries relating to manuscript preparation, submission and review process.
Submit your manuscript online at  
Submissions Editor: Dr. K.S. Reddy ([email protected])


Bengtsson, L. and Larsson, R. (2012), “Researching mergers & acquisitions with the case study method: Idiographic understanding of longitudinal integration processes”, In: Y. Weber (eds), Handbook for Mergers and Acquisitions Research, pp. 172-202. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK.

Birkinshaw, J., Brannen, M.Y. and Tung, R.L. (2011), “From a distance and generalizable to up close and grounded: Reclaiming a place for qualitative methods in international business research”, Journal of International Business Studies, vol. 42 no. 5, pp. 573-81.

Dauber, D. (2012), “Opposing positions in M&A research: culture, integration and performance”, Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal, vol. 19 no. 3, pp. 375-98.

Drauz, R. (2013), “In search of a Chinese internationalization theory: A study of 12 automobile manufacturers”, Chinese Management Studies, vol. 7 no. 2, pp. 281-309.

Eisenhardt, K.M. (1989), “Building theories from case study research”, Academy of Management Review, vol. 14 no. 4, pp. 532-50.

Geppert, M., Dörrenbächer, C., Gammelgaard, J. and Taplin, I. (2013), “Managerial risk-taking in international acquisitions in the brewery industry: institutional and ownership influences compared”, British Journal of Management, vol. 24 no. 3, pp. 316-32.

Haleblian, J., Devers, C.E., McNamara, G., Carpenter, M.A. and Davison, R.B. (2009), “Taking stock of what we know about mergers and acquisitions: a review and research agenda”, Journal of Management, vol. 35 no. 3, pp. 469-502.

Hoon, C. (2013), “Meta-synthesis of qualitative case studies: an approach to theory building”, Organizational Research Methods, vol. 16 no. 4, pp. 522-56.

Piekkari, R., Welch, C. and Paavilainen, E. (2009), “The case study as disciplinary convention: evidence from international business journals”, Organizational Research Methods, vol. 12 no. 3, pp. 567-89.

Poulis, K., Poulis, E. and Plakoyiannaki, E. (2013), “The role of context in case study selection: an international business perspective”, International Business Review, vol. 22 no. 1, pp. 304-14.

Reddy, K.S. (2015), “Beating the Odds! Build theory from emerging markets phenomenon and the emergence of case study research–A “Test-Tube” typology”, Cogent Business & Management, vol. 2 no. 1, pp. 1-25.

Reddy, K.S., Nangia, V.K. and Agrawal, R. (2014), “Farmers Fox theory: Does a country’s weak regulatory system benefit both the acquirer and the target firm? Evidence from Vodafone-Hutchison deal”, International Strategic Management Review, vol. 2 no. 1, pp. 56-67.

Stake, R.E. (1995), The Art of Case Study Research, Sage, London.

Weber, Y. and Tarba, S.Y. (2012), “Mergers and acquisitions process: The use of corporate culture analysis”, Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal, vol. 19 No. 3, pp. 288-303.

Woodside, A.G. (2010), Case Study Research: Theory, Methods and Practice, Emerald, Bingley, UK.

Yin, R.K. (1994), Case Study Research: Design and Methods, 2nd Ed., Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA.