Social capital transfer and professional service firm acquisition

  • Author / Creator
    McDougald, Megan Susan
  • This study examined how to best transfer social capital during professional service firm acquisitions. Using a qualitative, multiple case-based approach the study makes two important contributions. First, all four cases were successful in client retention and professional staff retention, yet only two cases were successful in retaining partners. This finding contradicts previous studies that found when partners leave the firm after acquisition clients follow. This research study found that clients stayed with an acquiring firm as long as their on-site project team remained more or less intact. This finding implies that social capital can be transferred between individuals and organizations. Second, a framework of organizational factors that contribute to the successful retention of social and human capital was developed. Successful retention of clients was primarily dependent on the retention of the project team (professional staff), but the robustness of the contract, the nature of the project work and sufficient communication were factors as well. Successful retention of professional staff relied upon the integration process, of which sufficient communication; goodness of organizational fit and goodness of strategic fit were factors. Successful retention of partners was based on timely communication and the importance of leadership roles for some of the acquired partners.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2011
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Reay, Trish (Business)
    • Washington, Marvin (Physical Education)
    • Lounsbury, Michael (Business)
    • Dyck, Bruno (Business, University of Manitoba)