Motivation and ability in the decision to acquire

Derek Ruth, Dinesh N. Iyer, Barton M. Sharp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


This study considers the decision to undertake an acquisition using a framework built around the concepts of motivation and ability to acquire. The paper develops an integrative model to examine how firm characteristics contribute to motivation and ability in predicting the likelihood of an acquisition and draws on two streams of literature to motivate the model: behavioral theory of the firm to explain a firm's motivation to acquire, and absorptive capacity to explain a firm's ability to acquire. Results from a publicly traded sample show that firms failing to meet aspirations (i.e., those with motivation) are more likely to acquire, as are firms that have a high absorptive capacity (i.e., those with ability). Most interestingly, absorptive capacity moderates the influence of performance shortfalls in the decision to acquire and is most important when the motivation to acquire is low.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2287-2293
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Business Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Marketing


  • Ability
  • Absorptive capacity
  • Acquisitions
  • Behavioral theory of the firm
  • Motivation


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