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Melissa Graebner - The University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business. Austin, TX, US

Melissa Graebner Melissa Graebner

Associate Professor, Department of Management | The University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business


Teaching in the areas of technology strategy and entrepreneurial management.


Areas of Expertise (6)

Merger & Acquisitions Decision-Making and Performance

Entrepreneurial Resource Acquisition

Strategy in Nascent Firms

Trust Asymmetries in Interfirm Relationships

Entrepreneurial Family Businesses

Comparative Case Studies and Other Qualitative Research Methods


Melissa Graebner is an Associate Professor of Management at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin.

She received her PhD in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University, with a focus on strategy and organizations. Her research interests include entrepreneurship, mergers and acquisitions, interorganizational trust, corporate governance, and family business. She has a particular interest in process research and qualitative research methods. Her work has been published in Administrative Science Quarterly, Strategic Management Journal, Strategic Organization, Academy of Management Journal, and Academy of Management Perspectives. Prior to teaching, Graebner worked as a strategy consultant for McKinsey and Company in Chicago and San Francisco





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Education (4)

Stanford University: Ph.D., Management Science and Engineering

Concentration in Organization and Strategy.

Stanford University - Graduate School of Business: M.B.A., Business Administration

Stanford University: M.Sc., Industrial Engineering at Engineering Management

Won the Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement in Industrial Engineering.

Stanford University: B.Sc., Industrial Engineering

Phi Beta Kappa and Tau Beta Pi

Media Appearances (7)

How the Disney-Fox Megadeal Could Impact the News Media

Washington Post  online


On the Disney side, “implementing this large a merger — with tens of thousands of employees involved — can be a drain on top management's attention,” said Melissa Graebner, a mergers-and-acquisitions specialist at the University of Texas. “It's hard to keep all of the balls in the air.”

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Entrepreneur Barbie doesn't need to wear pink to get the job done

The Christian Science Monitor  online


As a business school professor and the mother of a young daughter, I am always on the lookout for toys that can inspire girls. When I learned about this year’s girl-oriented entrepreneurship toys, for a few moments I was excited. There is Entrepreneur Barbie doll, dubbed the 2014 “career of the year” Barbie by Mattel...

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The Importance of Corporate Governance and Independence

Seeking Alpha  online


The Economist recently summarized an interesting a study co-authored by James Westphal (Michigan) and Melissa Graebner (Texas) that appeared in the Academy of Management Journal (for the Economist summary click How Firms Fool Equity Analysts, for information about the full research article visit the AMJ website). According to the Economist...

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How Firms Fool Equity Analysts

The Economist  online


How do you pump up the value of your company in these difficult times? One tried and tested way is to hoodwink equity analysts, according to a new study* of 1,300 corporate bosses, board directors and analysts.

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Herb Kelleher Center bridging UT communities through entrepreneurism

Austin Business Journal  online


Melissa Graebner, associate director of research at the Kelleher Center since earlier this year, has been teaching and doing research in entrepreneurial management at McCombs since 2003. She works directly with researchers, allocating financial support from the center for research projects, covering expenses such as interviews, databases, research assistants and travel to conferences.

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Buyers Are Liars

Forbes  online


Sellers should heed the words of Melissa Graebner, professor of mergers and acquisitions at the University of Texas at Austin’s McCombs School of Business and author of Caveat Venditor: Trust Asymmetries in Acquisition of Entrepreneurial Firms, a report on trust in buyer-seller relationships, first published in the June/July issue of the Academy of Management Journal...

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Sellers Beware: Study Finds Distrust in Buyers

The New York Times - Dealbook  online


The study examined the issue of trust between 12 entrepreneurial businesses and eight acquirers, and found that tensions between buyers and sellers appeared to start right at the screening phase and continue throughout the deal process.

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Articles (7)

The Process of Postmerger Integration: A Review and Agenda for Future Research Academy of Management Annals


In this article, we review research on postmerger integration, which we organize around strategic integration, sociocultural integration, and experience and learning. We then lay out a research agenda that centers on expanding our understanding of processual dynamics in postmerger integration. We focus on opportunities related to temporality, decision-making, practices and tools, and emotionality.

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Grand Challenges and Inductive Methods: Rigor Without Rigor Mortis Academy of Management Journal


An introduction is presented that discusses topics such as the use of inductive methods, novel ideas, and effective processes relates to rigorous research in management scholarship.

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Can Stories Shape Strategy? Narrative-Structured Information and Strategic Decision Making Academy of Management Proceedings


Specifically, we propose that narrative-structured information will be more likely than non-narrative information to be granted attention, analyzed, recalled, and used in communication with other strategic decision makers. Moreover, we contend that the strength of narrative information will not be the same across stable and unstable decision making contexts.

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Qualitative Data: Cooking Without a Recipe Strategic Organization


Our intended contribution in this essay is to explicate the multiple functions that qualitative research can play in studies of strategic organization,
and in particular, to debunk what we view as myths regarding the circumstances in which qualitative data are valuable, and by extension, the criteria by which qualitative studies should be judged.

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Success and Failure in Technology Acquisitions: Lessons for Buyers and Sellers Academy of Management Perspectives


In this article, we review the research on technology acquisitions and outline what is known and what remains to be studied.

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A Matter of Appearances: How Corporate Leaders Manage the Impressions of Financial Analysts About the Conduct of Their Boards Academy of Management Journal - Lead article


Our theory and findings suggest that relatively negative stock analyst appraisals prompt corporate leaders to increase externally visible dimensions of board independence without actually increasing board control of management.

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Caveat Venditor: Trust Asymmetries in Acquisitions of Entrepreneurial Firms Academy of Management Journal - Lead article


I explore the role of trust in acquisitions of entrepreneurial firms, taking a dyadic view that gives equal attention to buyers and sellers. The two parties have asymmetric views regarding whether their counterparts are trustworthy. I outline how these asymmetries emerge, persist, and influence behavior, including tendencies to behave deceptively and to guard against deception.

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