Johnson, Melin, and Whittington (2003), Schendel, and others argued that the distinction between content and process is “artificial”, that “the dichotomy is not real…[and] the two [content and process] cannot be separated” (Schendel, 1992, p. 2). Pettigrew (1992, pp. 6–7) refered to the dichotomy as a “trap” and an “analytical hindrance”. And Melin (1992, p. 101) stated, “The dichotomy of process versus content in strategy research has been misleading”. Apart from the interaction of the two, some studies, while positioned within a tradition, contribute to both. Ansoff et al.’s (1971) work, for example, included a number of process descriptors, and it measured various process dimensions, but the bulk of it linked elements of acquisition strategy content to performance measures. While Schendel and Pettigrew suggested an integration of thought—Pettigrew argued, “Content and process are best regarded as inseparable (1992, p. 7)”—they acknowledged that scholars tend to associate themselves and their work with one or other of the traditions. Thus, the following section is ordered using the content-process dichotomy, although it is recognised that this distinction is somewhat artificial.
Although different in origin and orientation, the process literature is similar to the content literature in that its inferred or explicit prescriptions would improve candidate selection and valuation.4 It goes beyond the content literature, however, in its attention to acquisition strategy development at the front end of the process and in postacquisition integration at the back end. It is also integrative in that it highlights the interrelationships between key phases in the process. Both approaches, however, have their limitations.
184.108.40.206. Improving Performance by Improving the Content of Acquisition Strategy
Knowing the impact of [evaluation] criteria on long-run performance should help avoid some of the less successful [acquisitions].