Date of Award

Spring 5-1-2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Executive Doctorate in Business (EDB)



First Advisor

Dr. Danny Bellenger

Second Advisor

Dr. Lars Mathiassen

Third Advisor

Dr. Wesley Johnston


Most research and development portfolio managers face one common problem: They are expected to select projects for a portfolio that will yield high returns and a viable pipeline for future growth. The onset of a merger or acquisition adds complexity to existing portfolio management challenges. Prior research has shown that most research and development projects fail or terminate after a merger or acquisition, especially within the pharmaceutical industry. This research takes a case study approach to examine how managers make decisions during the portfolio management process. We apply a narrative-based decision theory to explain what influences their decisions. The major findings that emerged are: (1) post-merger processes and methods are applied with greater rigor and lack integration, (2) managers’ perspectives on how they make decisions differ from reality, and (3) managers inject personal criterion into standardized portfolio evaluations. We contribute to the literature on portfolio management by providing insight into merger influences on managerial decision-making. The implications of R&D post-merger portfolio shrinkage are discussed