Substantial academic research, in a wide range of disciplines, has been undertaken to identify reasons for poor performance and to provide the basis for advancing prescriptions for avoiding failure. Strategic management and organisational behaviour scholars have made a number of contributions to performance improvement including the following approaches:
Together, these approaches, referred to as the traditional view in this study, are largely oriented towards improving performance by reducing failure.
In this book, the view is taken that performance improvement can also be achieved by increasing the number of successful acquisitions that occur. The complementary nature of these views can be readily translated into arithmetic terms. If failures are the numerator in a fraction and total acquisitions the denominator, the traditional view seeks to reduce the numerator; the alternative view seeks to increase the denominator. Put in statistical hypothesis testing terms, buying the wrong candidate might be likened to a type 2 error when a false hypothesis is accepted; forgoing an opportunity to a type 1 effort when a true hypothesis is rejected (Butler, 1998).