Triggering innovation through mergers and acquisitions: The role of shared mental models

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


External organisations

  • University of Innsbruck
  • MCI Management Center Innsbruck


In this article, we analyze how shared team and task mental models, developed prior to an acquisition, affect exploration and exploitation activities in the postacquisition phase, and how these effects are dependent on relative size. With a sample of 101 transactions of acquirers from the German-speaking part of Europe, we provide empirical evidence that both shared team and task mental models positively influence exploitation activities following an acquisition, whereby only shared team mental models (TMMs) are beneficial for exploration. We provide empirical evidence that shared mental models in terms of task and team are an important informal source for enhancing exploration and exploitation innovation activities. However, this source of informal coordination is contextual. Although the relationships on exploitation are stable, the beneficial effect of TMMs on exploration is sensitive and devitalized by an increasing relative size. Implications for further research and management practice are given.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-236
Number of pages42
JournalGroup and Organization Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Exploration and exploitation, Innovation, Mental models, Mergers and acquisitions, Relative standing