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Organizational Dynamics (2016) 45, 11—17 Available online at www.sciencedirect.com ScienceDirect journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/orgdyn Achieving radical innovation through symbiotic acquisition§ Olivier Meier 1, Guillaume Schier 1 ACHIEVING RADICAL INNOVATION THROUGH SYMBIOTIC ACQUISITION Evidence shows that radical innovation is important for longterm firm success. There are still strong uncertainties about the way companies could achieve such innovations. Internal growth has been extensively studied as a way to develop value-enhancing innovations. External growth through mergers or acquisitions appeared more recently as a new option to innovate by acquiring successful startups, leading to a form of technology risk and market risk externalization. For example, in 2014 Google Inc. acquired DeepMind Technologies for more than $400 millions. In 2012, Oracle acquired several technological startups, such as Taleo ($1.9 billion) and Vitrue ($ 300 million). Another example is the acquisition of Zappos ($1.2 billion) by Amazon. If innovation can be achieved by finding new ways to combine resources or competencies, managers may wonder whether it is possible to achieve such innovation by combining internal and external resources through acquisitions. Instead of acquiring on the market ready-to-use innovations, firms could also acquire targets to achieve radical innovation by combining both the acquirer and target’s specific resources (e.g. Google Inc.’s acquisition of DeepMind Technologies). This external growth strategy, oriented toward innovation, is called ‘‘symbiotic acquisition’’. Our objective is to describe what the main and specific features of this strategic option are and to understand how managers can proceed to generate radical innovation through this type of acquisition. This article is structured as follows. First, we describe what is and what is not a symbiotic acquisition. We differentiate § This article was accepted by the former editors, Fred Luthans and John Slocum. 1 The authors’ ; names are in alphabetical order, as both have contributed equally to the development of this paper. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.orgdyn.2015.12.002 0090-2616/# 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. between collaborative acquisition and symbiotic acquisitions and focus on two specific characteristics of symbiotic acquisitions: its initial strategic intents and the framing of its integration process. Second, we put an emphasis on the role of organizational initial conditions, initial viewpoints of both parties and potential ‘‘conflicts’’ between the acquirer and the target. Finally, we put forward some managerial implications from both our theoretical work and professional experiences in the management of symbiotic acquisitions. WHAT IS AND WHAT IS NOT A SYMBIOTIC ACQUISITION? Symbiotic Acquisition is Not a Collaborative Acquisition Symbiotic acquisition goes beyond simple collaborative acquisition, although they share some similarities. While collaborative acquisitions favor cost synergies and sharing of resources, symbiotic acquisitions aim to create something that does not exist yet on the market (radical innovation). Symbiotic acquisitions are riskier operations. Their purpose is to change permanently and profoundly the rules of the competitive game. Symbiotic acquisition, like collaborative acquisition, emphasizes a ‘‘merger of equals’’ attitude, which aims to preserve the target’s identity and to avoid any asymmetric relationship where the acquirer would dominate the target. The emergence of new forms of acquisitions referred to as collaborative or cooperative acquisitions, such as Air France—KLM, American Airlines—US Airways or Renault—Nissan, has already provided a glimpse of the changes in how to differently manage relations between the acquirer and the acquiree. The acquisition may lead to collaborative relationships and not simply to a logic based on domination. Napier proposed a theoretical model of collaborative acquisitions, 12 O. Meier, G. Schier highlighting the attitude of the acquirer with respect to the acquired business, particularly with regard to the balance of power changes within the new entity. The Merger of Air France—KLM The merger of Air France—KLM illustrates key features to be taken into account when managing non-asymmetric acquisitions. The main strategic aim of this acquisition was to build a world leader together around a simple but original idea of ‘‘one Group, two Airlines’’. At the time of the operation, Jean-Cyril Spinetta, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Air France, said: ‘‘We have always been convinced of the necessity of consolidation in the airline industry. Today, we announce a combination with KLM that will create the first European airline group, which is a milestone in our industry. This will bring significant benefits to customers, shareholders and employees. Capitalizing on the two brands and on the complementary strengths of both companies, we should, within SkyTeam, be able to capture enhanced growth opportunities.’’ Source: Air France Annual Report Everything was done to avoid the adverse effects of a merger: partnership governance, safeguarding the national identities of Air France and KLM, logos and brand; no discrimination in promotion decisions; Long-term sharing of ‘‘centers of excellence’’; and Air-political status (Air France and KLM retain their respective home bases, operating licenses, Air Transport Certificates and traffic rights). Similarly, priority has been given to growth synergies and cost synergies, with limited job losses, a preference for cooperation and sharing on issues of rationalization (largely confined to peripheral activities). The Case of Renault—Nissan Renault—Nissan is a significant example of this type of policy. As Carlos Ghosn (CEO of Renault-Nissan) noted the aim of the merger was to transform a volume-oriented company into a customer-oriented profitable company. At least three conditions have emerged as essential: the revival of Nissan, the strategy of profitable and consistent growth of all Renault— Nissan in a balanced approach to partnership and, finally, the existence of two separate identities and strong brands. The first condition in the short term has been the financial recovery of Nissan. Nissan had to approximate the performance of Renault. The logic was clear: what is good for Nissan is good for Renault. The second requirement was to develop synergies between the two companies in order to provide Renault—Nissan a coherent and coordinated strategy for profitable growth. The third essential element was the absolute and inviolable respect for each brand in a comprehensive and shared vision. Symbiotic Acquisition’s Strategic Intent is to Innovate The acquisition of symbiosis is an original model that goes beyond collaborative acquisition. It aims to reconcile two strategic options that are often separated: radical innovation and acquisitions. It allows combining resources to create new resources on the market. Symbiotic acquisition is a very interesting mode of development in the case of a merger between big business and small innovative companies (e.g. Apple Inc.’s acquisition of Soundjam in 2000). These acquisitions are carried out especially in mature industries (automotive, mechanical, heavy industry) or in threatened industries where business survival is a critical issue. They also concern certain sectors marked by technological turbulence and high competitive intensity (Internet, computing, telecommunications, innovative services...). At the strategic level, the decision to conduct symbiotic acquisitions is particularly relevant when the acquirer must respond to a threat or an external shock (strategic response). The Case of Mediamétrie—eStat In France, the merger ‘‘Médiamétrie—eStat’’ is an example of a joint innovation-oriented operation, whose objectives go beyond economies of scale and scope, market share, critical size and financial security. There are new objectives, paving the way for a change in the perception of the acquisition and its implications for businesses. As Mr. Bisac, co-founder of eStat said: ‘‘The principal objective of the merger was to develop an innovative audience-rating tool, by combining the specific know-how of the user- and site-centric technologies into a single tool to provide customers with information on both their web sites and the web site visitors’’. This merger was a response to market needs and the combination of data was expected to lead to an innovative ‘‘universal’’ audience-rating tool. The two companies also hoped to attain their ultimate objective of becoming market leaders in audience-rating tools. For Mediametrie, this objective was linked to the desire to position itself as the benchmark in the Internet market and to maintain its brand image and reputation. For eStat, the merger was vital for its survival (financial stability). A symbiotic acquisition is no longer simply a means to capture resources, increase market power or achieve cost savings. It also helps to create new strategic interdependencies with the acquiree, to provide systems, services or products with high added value, to meet the new requirements of the environment. Symbiotic Acquisition Can be Defined by its Integration Process What are the differences between symbiotic acquisition and other acquisition policies? Symbiotic acquisition gives rise to the establishment of a single authority system controlled by the acquirer as with any other acquisition. However, it attempts to rethink the business model of the acquirer, by imposing new logic in business strategy and value creation. Symbiotic acquisitions are riskier. They cannot rely on programmed actions. They aim to encourage initiatives and diverse viewpoints with the ability to accept unforeseen events and some disorder during the interactions between the acquirer and the acquiree. Achieving radical innovation through symbiotic acquisition The Case of the Acquisition of Finorex by Fortica To understand the implications of symbiotic acquisitions, we develop a real in-depth case study: the acquisition of Finorex by Fortica. Finorex (134 employees) and Fortica (3,200 employees) are two firms from the automotive industry in France that produce similar products for the same customers but with completely different technological bases. We conducted this study over a period of more than 2 years. During this period, we were able to interview more than sixty people from the acquirer and the target. Identifying details of managers and firms have been changed to maintain confidentiality. The acquisition of FINOREX fits into the framework of a symbiotic acquisition. We reproduced the justifications set out by the CEO of Fortica concerning the choice to acquire the company Finorex. ‘‘Creation of new product lines by evolving from manufacture of raw parts to complex assemblies or functions, pooling the know-how of the two companies in the framework of a management system privileging the concept of value creation.’’ (CEO of Fortica, Annual report) This acquisition seems to correspond to a choice of the acquirer (Fortica) to focus on the creation of new resources, based on the qualities of each company. The intention of achieving radical innovation through the acquisition of Finorex has been more explicitly stated in Fortica’s annual report: ‘‘The structure created (. . .) has a number of unique assets, among which expertise on several complementary processes capable of satisfying multiple, differentiated needs.’’ [. . .] ‘‘Its aims to create a real competitive edge based on the technical features of each company and to propose innovative products.’’ [. . .]‘‘We hope to create something that does not yet exist on the market’’ Source: Fortica Annual Report ‘‘Our ambition was to create a new group, different from those that existed at the time, by privileging innovation over cost control, taking advantage of the strengths of the two companies. Price is a given but cannot be a strategy in itself, except by putting all efforts into that. But we are not the biggest.’’ (CEO of Fortica) What are the characteristics of the integration process and how the acquirer (Fortica) intends to manage its relationship with the acquiree (Finorex)? Under a single management team headed by Fortica’s CEO, the new group (Fortica & Finorex) set up a new organization. The two main features of this new organization were the following: (1) no interference by the acquiring firm in the target’s business processes and (2) maintaining of the acquiree’s top executives in their initial positions. ‘‘The main topics already identified are as follows: each company has its own technical, economic and human features and characteristics that justify preserving it. Each company preserves a wide measure of autonomy in the areas of organization and research.’’ Source: Fortica Annual Report 13 The acquirer sought to develop cooperation in terms of R&D and product development but with no intention to dominate the acquired firm. Many decisions made by the acquirer confirmed its efforts to implement a symbiotic integration process in order to jointly develop new resources: preservation of the target’s identity and organizational boundaries, preservation of local infrastructure and management, a consistent communication around a common objective to develop cooperation between Fortica and Finorex, the creation of various joint committees (with no domination from the acquirer) and finally the creation of a permanent interface structure, including senior executives of both companies, set up to facilitate the communication and the collaboration between the two companies. The new group is therefore the result of an integration policy. It is focused on the need to preserve the entities and the development of creative cooperation between companies linked by hierarchical relationships. Within less than 2 years, this acquisition has created innovative new offerings on the market, allowing the two combined companies to be proactive and change the nature of the power relationship with their customers. The business model of Fortica (the acquirer) has also been transformed, with the development of new partnerships and more complex applications, combining a set of knowledge and rarely associated techniques from both the acquirer and the target. In the following section, we describe, using a psychosociological framework, the organizational mechanisms which allow the new group to achieve this type of radical innovation. HOW TO GENERATE RADICAL INNOVATION THROUGH ACQUISITION: A PSYCHOSOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE Research by S. Moscovici on dynamics engendered by the confrontation in a social system between a majority and a minority sheds light on the nature of interactions between an acquirer (majority) and an acquiree (minority) and how these interactions can generate radical innovation. It constitutes a useful and interesting tool to help us understand the dynamics at work between the acquirer and acquiree in a complex innovation process. Through this psycho-sociological perspective, we can then identify several initial conditions that must be satisfied to generate radical innovations from the interaction between an acquirer and an acquired company. The Role of Initial Strategic and Organizational Context If the strategic intent of a symbiotic acquisition is clearly to create innovation, managers cannot adopt a proactive attitude, as the achievement of radical innovations will depend on the strategic and organizational context of the new group. However, managers can foster organizational conditions that would allow radical innovation to emerge. Innovation and change of beliefs, norms and practices in a social group (for example, post-acquisition integration team) are likely to occur when the dominant group (acquirer) has no a priori approach or specific perspective on a new problem 14 which will arise through a modification of the strategic context of the firm. In the case of Finorex, innovation is marked by the adoption of new practices in terms of product development mainly inspired by the norms and values of the acquired firm. Initially in the minority position, the acquiree’s management suggests new practices around a combined technological process to solve a strategic issue raised by a major client (a leading French car manufacturer). The innovation was radical in two dimensions: the technological dimension as it combines two technologies, one from the acquirer and one from the acquiree firm; and a mixed commercial and technical dimension as it implies a new relationship between the technical team from the clients and the technical team from Finorex and Fortica. In this case, the minority (acquiree) prevents the group from adopting a compromise position and suggests a position likely to attract other members. The group innovates by adopting the position initiated by the minority. It can be considered that the acquirer (majority) and the acquiree (minority) can — and should — have a reciprocal influence. The purpose of the active minority is to impose its views, to replace those of the majority (alternative). To become a source of influence, the message of the acquired entity must be presented in a consistent and unified manner. The minority must behave consistently. However, for successful symbiosis, the influence of the majority must exist: it must integrate and validate the minority position in its strategy. Dilemmas (lack of norms from the acquirer), uncertainties (absence of leadership) and contradictions (non-unanimous majority) lie at the heart of a reconsidered model of integration. These complex requirements should not be seen as anomalies. They are fundamental conditions for the success of the symbiosis (experimentation, acquiree initiatives, new approaches). It is therefore necessary not to deny or minimize them. Instead, they must be valued to offer innovative strategic responses that were not necessarily intended or desired. The Role of Initial Viewpoints of Both Parties The acquirer (Fortica) did not have an original approach or specific response to guide the search for a solution. We suggest a new perspective to understand the dynamics between the acquirer and the acquiree that led to this successful radical innovation. At a very general level, our observations show that the Finorex teams were able to innovate by suggesting new organizational practices and combining two technological processes, one from each company. We analyzed the composition of the several working groups set up by Finorex and Fortica to develop the initial suggestion made by Finorex. These working groups consisted of members from both companies, whose approaches and strategic aims were totally different. These differences are particularly marked by the history of both companies: Fortica was focused on sales growth and characterized by a volume and low cost strategy, whereas Finorex was focused on value creation and consistently followed a strategy of differentiation. These strategic differences did not translate into an opposition of new norms and values. To address the problem, O. Meier, G. Schier Finorex was able to offer a norm to guide the search for a solution. Conversely, members of the acquirer had no specific approach or perspective. They did not know how to solve the problem, based on their business model and their existing skills. Given its position, the acquirer is the non-unanimous majority, and Finorex is, in this context, the consistent minority. Representations and new practices can be considered as resulting from the type of conflict involved with the positions and norms advocated by different parties. In the case of Finorex, the new business approach has emerged under the influence of members of the acquired company — initially in a minority position — whose proposal was a pole of attraction for members of the acquirer who had no specific perspective to oppose it on the issue. The Role of ‘‘Conflicts’’ Between the Acquirer and the Target If interactions between members of Fortica and Finorex have not been marked by frontal conflicts, they were not consensus orientated. Ideas and diverse viewpoints from both parties were seen as sources of inspiration and new ideas. The type of relationship can be illustrated by the way Finorex management was able to develop ‘‘its’’ solution to solve the new problem raised by the major car manufacturer to Fortica. Three days after that the acquirer’s Sales Director reported to Fortica’s top management the new requirements of the car manufacturer (one of the main clients of Fortica). Every business unit from Fortica and Finorex was informed and moved to quickly solve the problem (the development of new hollow metal parts with complex geometry requiring the combined used of hot forging processes and cold forging). Finorex’s CEO directly contacted Fortica’s Sales Director, and a workshop was organized. At the end of the week, the solution suggested by Finorex was validated by Fortica’s CEO. The following week, the outline of the solution was finalized both from a technological and organizational point of view. Before the other units of the acquirer had time to establish the norm of the compromise and to set up a rational approach to solve the problem (clear goals, consensus, uniformization), the team of the acquiree had a decisive influence on the outcome by proposing a ‘‘symbiotic’’ solution to the problem raised. Although the intrinsic quality of the solution proposed by Finorex cannot be totally neglected, it is this interruption of the normalization process that is essential. The process of developing this new approach is thus marked by quick and direct expression of the proposal from the general direction of Finorex. This logic is based on a relatively spontaneous relationship mode between the parties (emerging actions). The involvement of members of the management teams of Finorex (free initiatives), the existence of specific and original norms (dissensus) and the lack of opposition to the values and norms on this issue by the acquirer (lack of response) have undoubtedly contributed to good creative dynamic between the parties and rapid implementation of the project. In this case, the relationships among parties in the innovation process have been marked by a collaborative mode of Achieving radical innovation through symbiotic acquisition participation where conflicts and oppositions were allowed. Team members have only rarely used procedures or specific rules for working on the problem. The process of solving the problem by Finorex was marked by low formalization. Instead of putting up scheduled meetings and defining precise specifications, the acquirer’s CEO took the opportunity suggested by Finorex. This spontaneous and informal mode of participation has facilitated the expression of the views of both acquirer and acquiree and has provided the necessary energy for joint innovation and new efficient practices. 15 (c) MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS Integration policy in the case of symbiotic acquisition is an alternative integration mode compared to the classical preservation approaches or the rationalization process (harmonization), focusing on managing conflicting demands (strategic interdependence vs autonomy). It aims to lead to a change in the economic model of business (internal and external value chain, relations with stakeholders, organization and management system, management style). It implies changes in the nature of relationships between acquirer and acquiree. Symbiosis acquisition is therefore an original strategic maneuver that reconciles two rarely associated strategic options, radical innovation and external growth, with two complementary strategies: ‘‘strategic intent’’ and ‘‘movement’’. This operation therefore gives a renewed vision of integration, introducing a new attitude to risk and paying special attention to the acquired entity in the integration process. It builds on the ability of organizations to change and reconfigure the existing resources, to create new something that does not yet exist on the market. Our research sheds new light on the phenomena of radical innovation through acquisition. Several actions can help to increase the chances of success of this strategy. These actions build on the results of specialized research, as well as our experience in management of these growth operations. They incorporate the key concepts associated with the management of symbiotic acquisitions (majority/minority, values, norms, cooperation versus hierarchy, nonlinear dynamic process) in a managerial approach. (a) Valuing differences: To avoid the risk of possible resource destruction, symbiotic acquisition must start with a preservation policy. This action aims to preserve the cultural and organizational differences of entities, particularly those of the acquired entity. The new management must especially be careful to limit the risk of cultural domination. This vigilance must also involve the management of symbols (insignia, logos, colors, location). Loss of distinctive symbols can indeed be interpreted by members of the acquiree as questioning their identity. It can lead to negative reactions because it will be perceived as an attempt to weaken the power of the acquired entity. (b) Open your mind: In this type of approach, it is essential to develop a mutual understanding between the members of both organizations by investing in the training of managers and employees. One way to foster this understanding can be (beyond the group meetings) to enhance (d) (e) (f) (g) knowledge of business activities by transferring some key people between the two companies. This approach can be applied to managers of both entities and certain operational managers. The goal is to better assess future possible combinations of resources between organizations. For this, the new management must improve organizational learning, by facilitating the transfer of knowledge and the dissemination of best ideas. Balancing ‘‘cooperation’’ and ‘‘hierarchy’’: Although it is undeniable that the success of integration depends on the contributions of the other company, it is necessary to avoid the status quo. Additionally, a process characterized by the search for acceptable solutions (consensus) to avoid disagreements may lead to opposite results from those expected. It is therefore essential that the new group is based on a single authority system. This does not mean that the buyer must behave as a conqueror (quite the contrary). It must first ensure consistency and provide a framework for collaboration. Similarly, members of the acquired entity should be regarded as an ‘‘influential minority’’. Mobilize teams on a strategic problem of ‘‘superior’’ interest: Symbiotic acquisition is based on an entrepreneurial movement that should develop initiatives and an overall commitment to the project. To achieve this, it is essential that cooperation between the two entities, beyond the exploitation of operational synergies, is based on problem-solving skills of general and ‘‘superior’’ interest, to mobilize teams (competitive threat, economic survival and obsolescence of activities). It is therefore necessary to put forward a real and legitimate issue that affects the future of the new entity. Naturally, these events are not always predictable or desirable. They illustrate the scope of the problem, where a group dynamic can develop. Admit own weaknesses to legitimize the contributions of the other: In this type of situation, the acquirer must recognize his limits to complete the project. Indeed, this is the condition where a true collaboration between the parties may be possible and lead to strong initiatives from the acquired entity. A different conception of time: In traditional Mergers & Acquisitions, time is linear and crushed. It follows a specific schedule to optimize and streamline the combined resources. The short term is more important than the projection in the future. The synergies and transfer primarily focus on the sharing of operational resources. In more complex acquisitions, strategic time is not linear but dynamic, based on experimentation and learning. Therefore, the integration can take more time and be fed by approaches and contradictory actions, before reaching a collective and creative solution. Emphasize initiatives and emerging actions over plans: In this type of operation, it is important to leave room for initiatives, especially in the acquired firm. The reason for this is to avoid the risk of the acquiring company dominating the acquired company and preventing it from making any valuable contribution to the joint project. In this perspective, one way to create symbiosis is to create initiatives and to move the joint development outside of existing systems, so that the exploration be done regardless of operating constraints. 16 CONCLUDING REMARKS Beyond these principles, it is also necessary to admit that the integration of symbiosis has a corollary that accepts logics of errors and even some failures during the implementation phase. Our studies highlight in particular the importance of O. Meier, G. Schier identity elements and the free play of the acquiree for the success of the operation. Similarly, this strategy enquires into the degree of intentionality that governs the operations of symbiosis and the balance between planning and emerging actions. Finally, it raises the question of cultural and organizational learning. Achieving radical innovation through symbiotic acquisition 17 SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY For information about symbiotic acquisitions, see P.C. Haspeslagh and D.B. Jemison, Managing Acquisitions: Creating Value Through Corporate Renewal (New York: The Free Press, 1991); D. Angwin and R. Wensley, ‘‘The Acquisition Challenge,’’ Hot Topics, 1997, 2—13; D. Dauber, ‘‘Mergers and Acquisitions, Integration and Culture,’’ IACCM: Cross-Cultural Competence and Management: Knowledge Migration, Communication and Value Change (Vienna, 2009); C. Ghosn, ‘‘Les conditions de réussite de l’alliance Renault-Nissan,’’ Automobile Magazine — Revue mensuelle de la société amicale des anciens élèves de l’école polytechnique, 2000, no. 557, 25—29; N.K. Napier, ‘‘Mergers and Acquisitions, Human Resources Issues and Outcomes: A Review and Suggested Typology,’’ Journal of Management Studies, 1989, 26(3), 271—289; K. Gundolf, O. Meier and A. Missonier, ‘‘Merger Between Partners of Unequal Size,’’ Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 2012, 19(2), 281—299; A.P. De Man and G. 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The Nature and Dynamics of Organizational Capabilities (Oxford University Press, 2000); D.J. Teece, G. Pisano and A. Shuen, ‘‘Dynamic Capabilities and Strategic Management,’’ Strategic Management Journal, 1997, 18(7), 509—533; D.J. Teece, ‘‘Explicating Dynamic Capabilities: The Nature and Microfoundations of Enterprise Performance,’’ Strategic Management Journal, 2007, 28(13), 1319—1350; J. Schumpeter, ‘‘Economic Theory and Entrepreneurial History,’’ 248—266, in R.V. Clemence (Ed.) Essays on Economic Topics of Joseph Schumpeter (Port Washington, NY: Kennikat Press, 1951); M. Stefik and B. Stefik, Breakthrough Stories and Strategies of Radical Innovation (Cambridge, Massachusetts, London, England: The MIT Press, 2004). For information about Majority versus Minority influence in a group, see S. Moscovici, Psychologie des minorités actives (Paris: PUF, 1976); S. Moscovici, Social Influence and Social Change (New York: Academic Press, 1976); W. Doise and S. Moscovici, ‘‘Approche et évitement du deviant dans des groupes de cohésion différente,’’ Bulletin de psychologie, 1969, 23, 522—525; S. Moscovici, E. Lage and M. Naffrechoux, ‘‘Influence of a Consistent Minority on the Responses of a Majority in a Color Perception Task,’’ Sociometry, 1969, 32, 365—379; G. Mugny, ‘‘Négociations et influence minoritaire, Doctoral dissertation, 1973, Université de Genève; G. Mugny, ‘‘Majorité et Minorité: le niveau de leur influence,’’ Bulletin de psychologie, 1975, 28, 831—835; S. Moscovici and P. Ricateau, ‘‘Conformité, minorité et influence sociale,’’ 139—194, in S. Moscovici (Ed.) Introduction à la psychologie sociale,1 (Paris: Larousse, 1972); S. Moscovici and C. Faucheux, ‘‘Social influence, conformity bias, and the study of active minorities,’’ 149—202, in L. Berkowitz (Ed.) Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 6 (New York: Academic Press, 1972); M. Doms and S. Moscovici, ‘‘Innovation et influence des minorities,’’ 51—88, in S. Moscovici (Ed.) Psychologie sociale (Paris: PUF, 1984). Olivier Meier (PhD in strategic Management, Research Supervisor — HDR) is an Associate Professor and Research Director at the University Paris Est (UPEC). He studies Mergers & Acquisitions and radical innovation in relation to the strategic management field in multi-national companies. His research focuses on international management and interorganizational relationships. Prior to his PhD, Meier worked 5 years in strategy consulting and was head of the Research Center (Institut de Recherche en Gestion, Université Paris-Est (UPEC), Site de senart — 36/37 rue Georges Charpak, 77567 Lieusaint, France. Tel.: +33-1-6413-4481; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org). Guillaume Schier (PhD in Financial Economics, Research Supervisor — HDR) is a Finance Professor at ESSCA, School of Management. He wrote several articles and books in the field of Corporate Finance, Mergers & Acquisitions and Family Business. Prior to his PhD, Guillaume Schier worked for 10 years as consultant in Paris for major international firms and governmental institutions (ESSCA School of Management, 1 rue Joseph Lakanal, 49000 Angers, France. Tel.: +33-2-4771-7290; e-mail: email@example.com).