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  • Vaara, Eero; Tienari, Janne (Academy of Management Review 2008, vol 33, No. 4, 985-993, 2008)
    Few studies have examined legitimation in multinational corporations from a discursive perspective. To complement the existing institutional literature, we adopt a critical discourse analysis perspective that allows us to examine the microlevel processes of discursive legitimation. We provide an example of a media text— dealing with a production unit shutdown—to demonstrate how this perspective elucidates the various textual strategies used to legitimate multinational corporations’ actions and their controversial consequences.
  • Fougère, Martin; Solitander, Nikodemus (John Wiley & Sons Ltd., 2009)
  • Samuelson, Olov; Björk, Bo-Christer (Elsevier BV, 2014)
    The rapid development of IT technology has in the past three decades created opportunities for faster and more efficient processes as well as innovative new working methods in the building industry. This paper presents the results of a longitudinal survey-based study (the ”IT barometer”) of IT use in the Swedish building industry, conducted at several intervals over the period 1998-2011. The results show a rapid increase in general IT use as well as in the use of sector-specific tools. Improving communication and information sharing is a strong driving force for taking IT into use, for instance technologies such as EDM and EDI, although the adoption of the more complex applications (ie BIM) is slower. Interestingly “demands from employees” has over the years become a very important reason for companies to increase their IT use. Leading areas for planned IT investments include document handling and mobile equipment, with BIM technology rather low on the list.
  • Vaara, Eero; Monin, Philippe (Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences, 2010)
    This paper challenges the predominant view that legitimation is merely a specific phase in merger or acquisition processes. We argue that a better understanding of postmerger organizational dynamics calls for conceptualization of discursive legitimation as an inherent part of unfolding merger processes. In particular, we focus on the recursive relationship between legitimation and organizational action. We have two objectives: to outline a theoretical model that helps one to understand the dynamics of discursive legitimation and organizational action in postmerger organizations, and to examine a revealing case to distinguish the inherent risks and problems in discursive legitimation. Our case analysis focuses on the merger between the French pharmaceutical companies BioMérieux and Pierre Fabre. We adopt a critical multimethod approach and distinguish specific discursive dynamics and pathological tendencies in this case. The analysis highlights the unintended consequences of discursive legitimation, the central role of sensegiving and sensehiding in discursive legitimation, the inherently political nature of legitimation and the risks associated with politicization, the special problems associated with fashionable discourses and the role of the media, the use of specific discursive strategies for legitimation and delegitimation, and the crucial role of actual integration results. This analysis adds to the existing research on mergers and acquisitions by treating discursive legitimation as part of the merger dynamics. In particular, our case analysis provides a new explanation for merger failure. We also believe that the recursive model connecting discursive legitimation and delegitimation strategies to concrete organizational action makes a more general contribution to our understanding of organizational legitimation.
  • Vaara, Eero; Monin, Philippe (Organizational Science, pp. 1–20, 2008)
    This paper challenges the predominant view that legitimation is merely a specific phase in merger or acquisition processes. We argue that a better understanding of postmerger organizational dynamics calls for conceptualization of discursive legitimation as an inherent part of unfolding merger processes. In particular, we focus on the recursive relationship between legitimation and organizational action. We have two objectives: to outline a theoretical model that helps one to understand the dynamics of discursive legitimation and organizational action in postmerger organizations, and to examine a revealing case to distinguish the inherent risks and problems in discursive legitimation. Our case analysis focuses on the merger between the French pharmaceutical companies BioMérieux and Pierre Fabre. We adopt a critical multimethod approach and distinguish specific discursive dynamics and pathological tendencies in this case. The analysis highlights the unintended consequences of discursive legitimation, the central role of sensegiving and sensehiding in discursive legitimation, the inherently political nature of legitimation and the risks associated with politicization, the special problems associated with fashionable discourses and the role of the media, the use of specific discursive strategies for legitimation and delegitimation, and the crucial role of actual integration results. This analysis adds to the existing research on mergers and acquisitions by treating discursive legitimation as part of the merger dynamics. In particular, our case analysis provides a new explanation for merger failure. We also believe that the recursive model connecting discursive legitimation and delegitimation strategies to concrete organizational action makes a more general contribution to our understanding of organizational legitimation.
  • Vaara, Eero; Junni, Paulina; Sarala, Riikka M; Ehrnrooth, Mats; Koveshnikov, Alexei (Hanken School of Economics, 2013)
    This paper focuses on managers’ attributions of M&A performance. Our analysis indicates that there is a linear association between performance and attributions to cultural differences, which is moderated by prior experience. Furthermore, our results suggest that there is a curvilinear association between performance and attributions to managers’ actions, but we found no support for the moderating effect of experience for this association. By substantiating these attributional tendencies, our results contribute to research on M&As and studies on attribution more generally. In particular, our study helps to put cultural differences in perspective and cautions researchers and practitioners alike to avoid simplistic explanations of M&A performance.
  • Tienari, Janne; Vaara, Eero; Meriläinen, Susan (Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2010)
    Purpose We address gender and management in contemporary globalization by focusing on the ways in which male top managers in a multinational corporation (MNC) construct their identities in interviews with researchers. Design/methodology/approach Our qualitative analysis is based on interviews with virtually all top managers in the Nordic financial services company Nordea (53 men and two women). Findings We specify how becoming international induces a particular masculine identity for the top managers. In becoming international, however, their national identification persists. The unstability of the MNC as a political constellation leaves room for questioning the transnational identity offered. Originality/value Our findings suggest that in the global world of business, national identity can also be interpreted as something positive and productive, contrary to how it has been previously treated in feminist and men’s studies literature.
  • Skålen, Per; Fougère, Martin (Emerald Group Publishing Ltd., 2007)
  • Vaara, Eero; Tienari, Janne; Björkman, Ingmar (Nordic Organization Studies, 2012)
    We argue in this article that an ‘essentialist’ conception of knowledge has prevented both researchers and practitioners from understanding some of the fundamental reasons for the problems and disappointments often encountered in knowledge transfer processes in the context of mergers and acquisitions. As a step towards developing alternative approaches, we outline in this article a sensemaking perspective on the transfer of knowledge. We focus on a particularly revealing empirical case – the creation of the pan-Nordic financial services group called Nordea – to uncover sensemaking processes and patterns that are likely to characterize post-merger knowledge transfer. In our analysis, we identify four specific sensemaking processes around the transfer of ‘best practices’: identification, evaluation, (re)contextualization, and (re)configuration. We in particular highlight how these processes are characterized by inherent complexity, ambiguity and politics that are often bypassed in more ‘essentialist’ analyses.
  • Vaara, Eero; Tienari, Janne; Ainamo, Antti (Human Relations, May 2006, 59(5): 611-636, 2006)
    The Cold War era was characterized by ideological struggles that had a major impact on economic decision-making, and also on management practice. To date, however, these ideological struggles have received little attention from management and organizational scholars. To partially fill this research gap, we focus on the role of the media in these ideological struggles. Our starting point is that the media both reflect more general societal debates but also act as an agency promoting specific kinds of ideas and ideologies. In this sense, the media exercise significant power in society; this influece, however, is often subtle and easily dismissed in historical analyses focusing on political and corporate decision-making. In this article, we focus on the role of business journalism in the ideological struggles of the Cold War era. Our case in point is Finland, which is arguably a particularly interesting example due to its geo-political position between East and West. Our approach is socio-historical: we focus on the emergence and development of business journalism in the context of the specific struggles in the Finnish political and economic fields. Our analysis shows how the business journalists struggled between nationalist, pro-Soviet and pro-West political forces, but gradually developed into an increasingly influential force promoting neo-liberal ideology.
  • Salin, Denise (Inderscience, 2003)
    This paper argues that workplace bullying can in some cases be a form of organisational politics, that is, a deliberate, competitive strategy from the perspective of the individual perpetrator. A cross-sectional study conducted among business professionals revealed that there was a correlation between a politicised and competitive climate and bullying. This finding implies that globalisation, increased pressures for efficiency, and restructuring, which limits the number of management positions and thereby contributes to increased internal competition, may lead to more bullying. The findings have important implications for management, since the possible political aspects of bullying must be taken into account in order to be able to undertake successful prevention and intervention measures.
  • Holmlund-Rytkönen, Maria; Kock, Sören (Elsevier Inc., 1995)
  • Durand, Rodolphe; Vaara, Eero (2009)
    Causation is still poorly understood in strategy research, and confusion prevails around key concepts such as competitive advantage. In this paper, we define epistemological conditions that help to dispel some of this confusion and to provide a basis for more developed approaches. In particular, we argue that a counterfactual approach – that builds on a systematic analysis of ‘what-if’ questions – can advance our understanding of key causal mechanisms in strategy research. We offer two concrete methodologies – counterfactual history and causal modeling – as useful solutions. We also show that these methodologies open up new avenues in research on competitive advantage. Counterfactual history can add to our understanding of the context-specific construction of resource-based competitive advantage and path dependence, and causal modeling can help to reconceptualize the relationships between resources and performance. In particular, resource properties can be regarded as mediating mechanisms in these causal relationships.
  • Durand, Rodolphe; Vaara, Eero (John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 2010)
    Causation is still poorly understood in strategy research, and confusion prevails around key concepts such as competitive advantage. In this paper, we define epistemological conditions that help to dispel some of this confusion and to provide a basis for more developed approaches. In particular, we argue that a counterfactual approach – that builds on a systematic analysis of ‘what-if’ questions – can advance our understanding of key causal mechanisms in strategy research. We offer two concrete methodologies – counterfactual history and causal modeling – as useful solutions. We also show that these methodologies open up new avenues in research on competitive advantage. Counterfactual history can add to our understanding of the context-specific construction of resource-based competitive advantage and path dependence, and causal modeling can help to reconceptualize the relationships between resources and performance. In particular, resource properties can be regarded as mediating mechanisms in these causal relationships.
  • Monin, Philippe; Fathallah, Ouafa; Vaara, Eero (Révue Franciase de Gueston 2005, 31(158),145-162, 2005)
    Les strictes fusions entre égaux constituent un phénomène très rare. Pourtant, de nombreux dirigeants communiquent sur l’aspect égalitaire des fusions et acquisitions qu’ils conçoivent. Dans cet article, les auteurs expliquent pourquoi les dirigeants <<maquillent>> leurs F&A en <<fusions entre .gaux>> ; montrent en quoi le postulat égalitaire initial accroît la probabilité de conflits entre deux normes de justice distributive pourtant compl.mentaires : l’égalité et l’équité ; et illustrent leurs propos avec un cas spectaculaire : la fusion égalitaire, puis la separation des entreprises BioMérieux et Pierre Fabre. Paradoxalement, la simple formulation en termes égalitaire des F&A favorise la diffusion de sentiments d’injustice distributive, qui nuit in fine à la performance de l’opération.
  • Suominen, Kimmo; Mantere, Saku (Hanken School of Economics, 2014)
    Although the managerial profession is subjugated by the discipline of strategic manage-ment, managers are not completely subordinate to it. Instead, they are able to use the in-stitutionalized discourse of strategic management, which is not their own product, in nov-el and creative ways. In this paper, we focus on the tactics that managers, as central strat-egy practitioners, use to consume strategy. Drawing on the work of the late Michel de Certeau as a theoretical lens, we conduct an empirical analysis of discourse, produced by 36 managers operating in three case organizations. This analysis allows us to elaborate on three different tactics of strategy consumption: instrumental, playful and intimate. The results capture the reciprocal dynamics between the micro and macro-levels of strategy discourse, that is, between strategic management as an institutional body of knowledge and the discursive practice of individual managers.
  • Peltonen, Tuomo; Vaara, Eero (Edward Elgar, 2011)
  • Vaara, Eero; Stahl, Günter K; Björkman, Ingmar (Journal of International Business Studies (2007) 38, 658–672, 2007)
    This paper presents an integrative model of the impact of cultural differences on capability transfer in cross-border acquisitions. We propose that cultural differences affect the post-acquisition capability transfer through their impact on social integration, potential absorptive capacity, and capability complementarity. Two dynamic variables – the use of social integration mechanisms, and the degree of operational integration of the acquired unit – are proposed to moderate the effects of cultural differences on social integration and potential absorptive capacity. The implications for acquisition research and practice are discussed.
  • Vaara, Eero (2010)
    Researchers and practitioners have increasingly explained post-merger organizational problems with cultural differences, especially in the context of cross-border mergers and acquisitions. It is suggested here that cultural differences have great explanatory power in the context of post-merger change processes. There are, however, problems with a number of superficial cultural conceptions that are common in research in this area and in managerial rhetoric. This critical article provocatively delineates misconceptions widely held by researchers and practitioners in this field, which not only disregard cultural differentiation, fragmentation, inconsistencies and ambiguities, but further, illustrate a lack of understanding of cultural permeability and embeddedness in the environment, an overemphasis on abstract values and lack of attention to organizational practices, an overemphasis on initial structural differences and lack of attention to the new cultural layer, a lack of recognition of the political dimensions and a failure to recognize cultural differences as sources of value and learning. In this article, the theoretical problems associated with these misconceptions are examined and new conceptual perspectives suggested. The risks at stake for decision makers are also discussed.
  • Sarala, Riikka; Vaara, Eero (Journal of International Business Studies, 2012)
    In spite of the proliferation of research on cultural differences in international mergers and acquisitions, we lack systematic analyses of the impact of cultural factors on knowledge transfer. In this paper, we argue that both national and organizational cultural differences and cultural integration in the form of cultural convergence and crossvergence affect knowledge transfer in acquisitions. We develop specific hypotheses concerning the nature of these effects, and test our hypotheses with data on international acquisitions carried out by Finnish corporations. The analyses performed show that national cultural differences provide great potential for knowledge transfer in international acquisitions. Furthermore, organizational cultural convergence and crossvergence have a significant positive impact on knowledge transfer. In particular, convergence and crossvergence moderate the impact of national cultural differences on knowledge transfer.