Dissertations, Theses and Capstone Projects

Date of Award

Summer 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)



First Advisor

Dr. Franz W. Kellermanns

Second Advisor

Dr. Torsten M. Pieper

Third Advisor

Dr. Rajaram Veliyath


Most theories in merger and acquisition (M&A) research use an individual or group level of analysis and address behavioral issues in M&A integration and adaptation. Relatively few studies apply a firm level analysis to investigate strategic issues pertaining to autonomy and decision-making authority. This study used neo-institutional theory to investigate the relationship between acquired firm autonomy and integration success at the firm level. It also sought to identify possible moderating impacts of an acquired firm’s pre-acquisition organizational archetype, e.g. professionally managed private, or founder owned and operated, as well as the acquired firm’s leadership experience with previous M&A integration. Furthermore, unlike the majority of extant M&A literature, which commonly takes the perspective of the acquirer firm, I explored the perspective of the acquired firm. The study focused on middle market firms acquired by public corporations to provide variation of acquired firm organizational archetypes. Our results underscore the complexities of measuring a relationship between autonomy allocation and integrations success. It additionally expands the exploration of causal antecedents that influence that relationship.