The paper considers the acquisition of a high-tech start-up and analyzes how the allocation of innovation decision-making powers has an impact on the post-acquisition innovation activity of the target firm. These powers may be delegated to the key inventors of the acquired firm or centralized by the acquiring firm. The authors develop a theoretical model that integrates the insights offered by the competence- and resource-based views into a framework based on recent developments in delegation theory. The model leads to testable predictions related to the moderating effect of several factors on the relationship between the delegation (or centralization) of decisions and the post-acquisition innovation performance. Specifically, we consider the following factors: i) the reasons behind the acquisition (explorative vs. exploitative); ii) the technological connection between the acquiring and the acquired firms; and iii) the nature of the buyer’s previous acquisition experience. The model has relevant normative implications for the management of the buyer firm relating to the post-acquisition reorganization of the start-up.
Keywords: Acquisizioni, innovazione, teoria delle risorse e delle competenze, teoria della delega
Jel Code: O31, G34, M13