Value creation and the challenge of joining forces: Evidence from open innovation and mergers and acquisitions
Licentiatavhandling, 2022

Value creation is pivotal for organizational survival, growth, and competitiveness. The topic
has attracted a growing interest from scholars looking for new ways to analyze how firms
create value for themselves and their stakeholders. The means of value creation involve a
wide array of strategies, tools, and forms of interaction. Focusing on the challenges of joining
forces, this thesis explores two commonly used practices in collaboration with others to create
value: mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and open innovation (OI). Both practices are highly
complex. Despite the common use, they often fail to deliver the intended outcome, for
example, in terms of synergies, complementarities, and increased efficiency.
This thesis consists of two empirical papers and an introductory chapter. The themes
discussed in each of the enclosed papers investigates value creation and the challenges of
joining forces with other organizations. Paper 1 introduces a novel business model lens to
study post-merger integration in M&As. This study combines firm-level case study research
(in the European material handling industry) on business models and M&A to explore how
differences in business models affect value creation and synergy realization during postmerger
integration. The case evidence suggests that business model congruence – the fit
between merging business models, achieved through the careful stitching of business model
components into a value-creating system – is a critical factor impacting post-merger
integration. Paper 2 focuses on OI and explores the challenges to successful value creation in
partnerships between large and small firms. Based on field studies and interview data, I
uncover distinct challenges that large and small firms experience and what tactics can be used
to address such challenges.
This thesis contributes to the understanding of what impacts value creation when
organizations join forces through M&A and OI. Emphasizing two common collaborative
strategies with a novel theoretical approach allowed me to investigate the mechanisms for
value creation at a more granular level than previously examined. The combined theme of the
thesis adds to M&A, OI and strategic management literature by providing relevant insights on
the impact of interorganizational relations and organizational differences on collaborative
By integrating business models into the M&A literature, I expand the concept of strategic fit,
offering an opportunity to rethink how synergies are created. My approach of focusing on OI
partnerships between large and small firms contributes to the understanding of how value is
created in a collaborative context by identifying how large and small firms engage in
collaboration with very different perspectives and capabilities. Factors that, if not mitigated,
hamper the relationship and intended value creation, respectively. Having identified these
relational challenges, I present remedies that seek to establish mutual trust from the start of the
partnership. By contributing to a new understanding of common strategies for creating value in
collaboration with others, I derive implications for strategic similarity, synergy realization, and

small firm

value capture

post-merger integration



mergers and acquisitions


large firm

open innovation

Business model

value creation

Meeting password: 853780
Opponent: Björn Remneland Wikhamn


Mattias Johansson

Chalmers, Teknikens ekonomi och organisation, Entrepreneurship and Strategy


Innovation och entreprenörskap


Ekonomi och näringsliv



Meeting password: 853780


Opponent: Björn Remneland Wikhamn

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