Reducing cognitive bias in assessing combination potential in M&As

Roberto Evaristo, Srilata Zaheer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

6 Scopus citations


Top managers rarely have an accurate inventory of the capabilities buried within their firms. Although there are many reasons for such partial knowledge, cognitive biases play an important role for its existence. We argue that managers' cognitive biases could lead to lost opportunities and exposure to vulnerabilities as they engage in the complex cognitive tasks surrounding mergers and acquisitions. In this chapter, we propose a structured approach that managers can use to quickly assess the distribution of capabilities across merging firms to mitigate the impact of these biases. Strategic capability mapping (SCM) relies on an assessment of the distribution of capabilities, including where certain capabilities are located, their breadth and depth, and helps increase identification of potential complementarities and combination potential as well as reduce the merged firm's exposure to vulnerabilities such as losing areas of undiscovered strength. A description of the process and examples of successful application are provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Mergers and Acquisitions
EditorsSydney Finkelstein, Cary Cooper
Number of pages15
StatePublished - 2012

Publication series

NameAdvances in Mergers and Acquisitions
ISSN (Print)1479-361X


  • Capability complementarities
  • Cognitive biases
  • Merger vulnerabilities
  • Strategic capability mapping


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