This paper investigates the relationship between scientist mobility and acquisitions in high-tech industries. Mobile scientists serve as conduits for spillover of proprietary knowledge and tacit skills to potential rival firms and thus potentially create a credible risk of imitation and thwart a focal firm’s competitive advantage. We suggest that the perceived spillover and imitation risk for a focal firm due to outbound scientist mobility to a potential rival firm is likely to induce the focal firm to acquire the rival firm. More importantly, we posit three significant conditions that likely alter the effect of scientist mobility on the likelihood of acquisition. Specifically, the expertise fit between mobile scientists and the focal firm as well as the absorptive capacity of the potential rival firm add to the spillover risk for the focal firm and amplify the effect of mobility on acquisition likelihood. By contrast, relational ties between firms attenuate the spillover risk and weaken the effect of mobility on acquisition likelihood. We empirically test our hypotheses using longitudinal data of scientist mobility and acquisitions among firms in the semiconductor industry between 1995 and 2010.
|Title of host publication||Academy of Management Proceedings|
|Publisher||Academy of Management|
|Publication status||Published - 2019|
|Event||Academy of Management Annual Meetings, STR Division, Boston - |
Duration: 9 Aug 2019 → 13 Aug 2019
|Conference||Academy of Management Annual Meetings, STR Division, Boston|
|Period||9/08/19 → 13/08/19|