Managing the Strategic Dynamics of Acquisition Integration: Lessons from HP and Compaq

Managing the Strategic Dynamics of Acquisition Integration: Lessons from HP and Compaq

By Robert A. Burgelman, Webb McKinney
2005Working Paper No. 1907

We propose a conceptual framework that decomposes the overall acquisition integration process into four sequential and co-evolving processes: (i) formulating the integration logic and performance goals, (ii) establishing the integration planning approach, (iii) executing operational integration, and (iv) executing strategic integration. Managing the strategic dynamics of acquisition integration in fast changing competitive environments requires attention to all four processes and the feedback loops between them. Our analysis of the HP-Compaq merger, however, suggests that creating a strong feedback loop between the operational integration process and the process of formulating the integration logic and performance goals is difficult, yet is needed to timely revise the initial assumptions in light of changing market realities and responses of key customers to the new corporate strategy. It also suggests that establishing a strong feedback loop between the strategic integration process and the process of formulating the integration logic and performance goals is difficult, yet is needed to maintain sustained top management attention to the multi-year strategic activities necessary to meet the dynamic competitive challenges. Our analysis, furthermore, suggests that top management should be cautious at the outset in stating long-term goals for the new company, not declare victory too soon, and reduce the opportunity costs of acquisition integration by augmenting its own bandwidth for managing large-scale strategic change.

Keywords
change management, strategic planning, growth strategy, competitive advantage, strategic implementation