Thirty Years After Michael E. Porter: What Do We Know About Business Exit?

Decker, Carolin and Mellewigt, Thomas (2007). Thirty Years After Michael E. Porter: What Do We Know About Business Exit? Academy of Management Perspectives, 21(2) pp. 41–55.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.5465/amp.2007.25356511

Abstract

Although a business exit is an important corporate change initiative, the buyer’s side seems to be more appealing to management researchers than the seller’s because acquisitions imply growth, i.e., success. Yet from an optimistic viewpoint, business exit can effectively create value for the selling company. In this paper we attempt to bring the relevance of the seller’s side back into our consciousness by asking: What do we know about business exit? We start our exploration with Porter (1976), focusing on literature that investigates the antecedents of, barriers to, and outcomes of business exit. We also include studies from related fields such as finance and economics.1 Through this research we determine three clusters of findings: factors promoting business exit, exit barriers, and exit outcomes. Overall, it is the intention of this paper to highlight the importance of business exit for research and practice. Knowing what we know about business exits and their high financial value we should bear in mind that exit need not mean failure but a new beginning for a corporation.

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