Employee withdrawal and knowledge transfer in the context of Chinese acquisition in the UK

Associate Professor Mohammad Faisal Ahammad has co-authored a paper on knowledge transfer in the context of Chinese acquisition in the UK, published in Human Resource Management journal.

The paper in Human Resource Management (Wiley, FT50) by Anna Yumiao Tian, Mohammad Faisal Ahammad, Shlomo Y. Tarba and colleagues shows that greater trust in Chinese acquiring firms reduces acquired firm employee’s withdrawal behaviours, and increases their willingness to share tacit knowledge.

Employee withdrawal behaviours, which adversely affect organizations, involve different distancing behaviours and cognitions, ranging from intentions to quit to more subtle psychological neglect such as not fully concentrating on work. The impact of employee withdrawal on knowledge transfer and cross-border acquisition performance remains a compelling yet under-researched and emerging area of investigation. Our investigation is particularly important in the context of emerging market firms such as Chinese multinationals actively expanding into foreign markets such as the UK by acquiring developed markets' firms.

From a management perspective, our study indicates that acquired firm employee withdrawal behaviours are probably better addressed by enhancing trust in the acquiring firm. The management of acquiring firms could engage in several actions aimed at building trust and eliciting the commitment of their acquired firms' employees. Initial staff exchange visits and socialization could play vital role in developing trust. In particular, attempting to improve integration process communication, and providing adequate support for those who could be negatively affected by a takeover could go a long way toward building trust and securing the commitment of the acquired firm's employees.

Anna Yumiao Tian, Mohammad Faisal Ahammad, Shlomo Yedidia Tarba, Vijay Pereira, Ahmad Arslan, and Zaheer Khan (2021). Investigating employee and organizational performance in a cross‐border acquisition - A case of withdrawal behavior." Human Resource Management. DOI: 10.1002/hrm.22058.

The full article is available to read online.