Firms struggle to create an agile organizational system since it requires the development of three enabling capacities: to make sense quickly, make decisions nimbly, and redeploy resources rapidly. While the study of strategic agility is of growing interest as a prime means of organizational growth, the ways by which key mechanisms of growth such as mergers and acquisitions (M&As) help in building this capability remain elusive. This article highlights the differences between platform acquisitions and bolt-on acquisitions (most bolt-on acquisitions in high-technology industries can further be separated into product acquisitions on the one hand, and educational, technological and/or talent acquisitions on the other hand). These different forms of acquisitions can enhance strategic agility in distinct ways along different time horizons. When properly managed, acquisitions can enhance the gradual accumulation of the capabilities underlying strategic agility. This article presents a more complex picture of a non-linear reinforcing dual path between M&As and strategic agility.
- © 2014 by The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved. Request permission to photocopy or reproduce article content at the University of California Press's Rights and Permissions website at http://www.ucpressjournals.com/reprintinfo.asp.