Purpose – This study focuses on middle managers’ resistance to the M&As of Chinese firms in order to investigate three issues: (1) two facets of factors that are antecedents of middle managers’ resistance, including personal characteristics and M&A process factors; (2) the moderators of antecedents’ effectiveness on middle managers’ resistance; and (3) the consequences of middle managers’ resistance.
Design/methodology/approach – This study used empirical data of 484 middle managers in China that went through M&As to investigate the above research questions. Based on the implications of the relevant research and the variables involved in the research ideas, this study collected data through questionnaires. According to the aims of the research, this paper collected data on the personal characteristics of middle managers, their resistance, M&A experiences, M&A process factors, middle managers’ job satisfaction, turnover intention and job performance. After the data collection, descriptive statistics, reliability and validity tests, correlation analysis and multiple regressions were carried out using SPSS and MPLUS to test the hypotheses.
Findings – The results show that (1) middle managers’ risk aversion is positively related to their resistance, whereas middle managers’ self-efficacy is negatively related to their resistance. Moreover, middle managers’ previous M&A experiences positively moderate the negative effect of middle managers’ self-efficacy on their resistance. But the negative moderating effect of middle managers’ previous M&A experiences on the positive relationship between middle managers’ risk aversion and resistance is not significant. (2) Both middle managers’ M&A participation and perceived justice negatively influence their resistance. Effective communication during the M&A process positively moderate the negative effects of middle managers’ participation and perceived justice on their resistance. (3) For the relationships between middle managers’ resistance and its consequences, I find that middle managers’ resistance negatively related to their job satisfaction and job performance and positively related to their turnover intention. Moreover, middle managers’ job satisfaction and turnover intention play mediating roles in the relationship between their job satisfaction and job performance.
Research limitations/implications – This study has three limitations that illustrate future research directions. First, the data was collected through convenience sampling, which restricted the research sample in Guangdong province, China. Although Guangdong is one of the most developed regions in China, which has gone through many M&As, companies from other regions were overlooked. Future studies should collect data from other regions of China or even other countries to test the consistency and generalization of the results. Second, besides the personal characteristics and M&A process factors that being studied in this paper, there may exist other possible antecedents for middle managers’ resistance in M&As. Future research could investigate more drivers to provide a fuller picture for middle managers’ resistance. Lastly, this study examined job satisfaction, turnover intention, and job performance as consequences of middle managers’ resistance. Future research could also investigate the association of middle managers’ resistance with M&A success or failure or M&A performance.
Practical implications – This study has the following three practical implications. First, middle managers’ risk aversion and self-efficacy as two personal characteristics are found to influence middle managers’ resistance. Moreover, M&A experience is found to moderate the effects of personal self-efficacy and resistance. These results help top managers to identify which types of middle managers are more likely to resist and thus better control the M&A process. Second, M&A participation and effective communication are found to influence middle