"The Persistent Effect of Geographic Distance in Acquisition Target Selection," Organization Science


Published: 17May2013

Authors: Chakrabarti, Abhirup; Mitchell, Will

Publication: Organization Science, March 2013


Valuable resources often exist at distant points from a firm’s current locations, with the result that strategic decisions such as growth have a spatial dimension in which firms seek information and choose between geographically distributed alternatives. Studies show that geographic proximity facilitates the flow of resources, but there is limited understanding of factors that exacerbate or ease the impact of geographic distance when firms seek new resources. This paper argues that the difficulty of search increases with distance, particularly when search involves greater information processing, but that firms can partially overcome the constraints of distance with direct, contextual, and vicarious learning. We study 2,070 domestic acquisition announcements by U.S. chemical manufacturers founded after 1979. The results demonstrate the persistent effect of spatial geography on organizational search processes.

Read full paper: Organization Science, March 2013