Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas
Grenoble École de Management | GEM · Department of Technology Management and Strategy

PhD; AMP (Harvard)

About

48
Publications
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Introduction
My research interests focus on strategic management particularly in relation to mergers and acquisitions (M&As) and alliances. I am especially interested in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and aviation industries reflecting my professional and teaching experience as well as the management of the higher education.

Publications

Publications (48)
Article
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Purpose Academics and practitioners are in relative agreement on what drives a company’s fundamental value, primarily it’s current assets and future cash flows. The practice of paying a premium may thus be due to the non-tangible factors associated with perceived value that currently are not incorporated into the assets of the company and the expec...
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Purpose According to the Irish writer, Oscar Wilde, a second marriage is the “triumph of hope over experience”. Many mergers and acquisitions (M&As) could be cast in the same light. This paper aims to outline four crucial questions senior managers should ask before embarking on a merger or acquisition. Design/methodology/approach This briefing is...
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Purpose Digitalization is changing businesses everywhere and the healthcare sector is no exception to this (r)evolution. Yet history teaches us that radical innovation rarely comes from within the industry. Big pharma is a potential victim of this rule. Its leaders should be worried. Some are already. The industry needs to develop its digital capab...
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Purpose One of major preoccupations of human resources (HR) in recent times has been the challenge of proving its value at the “top table.” Mergers and acquisitions (M&As) may offer one potential solution to this problem. M&As are renowned for the key management problems they generate such as diminished employee engagement and morale and increased...
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Purpose The biotechnology (biotech) and pharmaceutical (pharma) industries have a lot of similarities, particularly regarding their mission to provide lifesaving and life-improving drugs. However, there are some key distinctions between the two industries. It is these differences, however, that make that ideal partners and have resulted in a wave o...
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Purpose As the pharmaceutical industry faces a more changing environment, talent management appears to be a key differentiating element. Key talent retention strategies must be assessed during the mergers and acquisitions negotiations and implemented during post-acquisition integration. The purpose of this paper is to show how this can be done. De...
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This article analyses student perceptions of university social responsibility (USR) across three cultures (France, Italy and Russia). USR is needed to strengthen civic commitment and active citizenship by university members to the communities they serve (Vasilescu et al., 2010). Insufficient empirical evidence currently exists to describe perceptio...
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This paper provides insight into the evolution of branding and analyses the relevance of three recent tactics for digital communications. Due to the nature of higher education institutions (HEI), one of these tactics is more adapted to the education sector than the others. Taking this particular branding technique as a starting point, the second pa...
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Over the past decade, more than 42,000 interfirm allianceshave been created (Greve, Rowley, & Shipilov, 2013). However, almost 60% of them did not meet their goals (Whitler, 2014). Failurewasgenerallyattributedtoalackofclearstrategyandpoorleadership.This article addresses the critical leadership issues in the management of network alliances and def...
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Purpose The purpose of this article is to outline the reasons for the success of the Chinese HNA Group in the development of its international strategy. Design/methodology/approach The article adopts a critical single case study method approach. Findings The HNA Group has been highly successful using cross-border merger and acquisitions (M&As)...
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The purpose of this paper is to analyze Lenovo’s successful acquisition of IBM’s PC division using Ghemawat’s (2001) CAGE framework. It was an acquisition that was so full of symbols that it is difficult to know where to begin. Lenovo’s purchase of IBM in 2005 was first seen as a sign of the rapid growth and expansion of the Chinese economy and its...
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The aim of this paper is to see how NOT to manage an acquisition through the case study of one of the worst M&As in recent years: Emporiki Bank’s by Crédit Agricole. Although the role of the banks is to manage risk, the acquisition of Emporiki by Crédit Agricole shows how easy it is, when ill prepared, to make one mistake after another and get trap...
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2015 saw another wave of mergers and acquisitions (M&As). Deals in the world exceeded a record $5 trillion. This special edition gives a theoretical and practical assessment of current developments in M&As.
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Purpose The Allianz acquisition of Dresdner Bank was announced as one of the most important deals of the year, in 2001. It was certainly one of the largest. In April 2001, the Munich-based insurance firm, Allianz, bought Dresdner Bank for more than €20 bn. Unfortunately, such optimism was unfounded. The projected synergies never materialized and in...
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Purpose This paper aims to analyse the success of the three main mergers that have taken place in the US airline industry since 2008. Delta and Northwest, then Continental and United and finally US Airways and American Airlines have all tied the corporate knot. This is the latest attempt of the industry to improve profits and to fight off low cost...
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Purpose Between 1985 and 2001, only 45 of 90,480 total European mergers and acquisitions were identified as a merger of equals (Zaheer et al. , 2003). This indicates that there were less than 1 per cent of the M&A deals that could actually be categorized as a merger of equals. This paper aims to analyse two recent mergers and assess to what extent...
Article
Purpose This paper aims to review the latest management developments across the globe and pinpoint practical implications from cutting-edge research and case studies. Design/methodology/approach This briefing is prepared by independent writers who add their own impartial comments and place the articles in context. Findings An slowdown to the curr...
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Despite some stagnant economies in the past few years, corporations are certainly not lacking in their ambition for growth. However, many of these have become increasingly reliant on mergers and acquisitions (M&As) rather than through organic means. Some analysts fear that the M&A bubble will burst sooner or later. Indeed, history is clear about t...
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Purpose – The prevalence of corporate alliances has increased significantly in the past 25 years. However, such coalitions do not always produce the required results – a problem that is exacerbated when several partners are involved in a network alliance. Part of the difficulty is that, often, firms do not recognize all of the key issues in the suc...
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Purpose – This paper aims to review the latest management developments across the globe and pinpoint practical implications from cutting-edge research and case studies. Design/methodology/approach – This briefing is prepared by an independent writer who adds their own impartial comments and places the articles in context. Findings – Despite the i...
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Purpose – This paper aims to review the latest management developments across the globe and pinpoint practical implications from cutting-edge research and case studies. Design/methodology/approach – This briefing is prepared by independent writers who add their own impartial comments and place the articles in context. Findings – Falling in love w...
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The purpose of this paper is to describe an innovative international management programme that has been developed across four countries for Master-level students. It first analyses the advantages and disadvantages of two of the most common forms of internationalisation in higher education; the student exchange and full-scale offshore campus model....
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This article examines the strategic option of airlines facing a crisis. It analyses the current troubles faced by Malaysia Airlines (MAS). Having faced major crises in five months in 2014, the company has been saved only by nationalisation and has a very uncertain future. However, the article shows that the problems of the company can also be trace...
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This paper aims to show why public acclaim is not always a guarantee for healthy profits. A low-cost forerunner, Laker Airlines, also discovered this same fact to its fatal cost. A company needs to understand its true value proposition and ensure that customers are willing to pay for it. Ryanair was adored by the public when it began its low-cost f...
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Southwest is the world’s fourth largest airline and has consistently been one of the most admired organisations in the USA. Its founder and Chairman Emeritus, Herb Kelleher, attributes much of this success to the use of strategic principles. This gives a guiding framework for employees within the company but allows them leeway to make their own dec...
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Mergers and acquisitions (M & As) are sensitive issues in most industries, but it would seem even more so in airlines. The list of failures or destroyed value in the sector is long. This article outlines three of the main reason why M & As can be a challenge in this industry. The article looks at M & As in the airline industry through a key stakeh...
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This article highlights the essential factors to be considered for successful mergers and acquisitions (M & As) in the aviation industry. The article draws insights from the successful deals between Morris and Southwest Airlines as well as Cathay Pacific and Dragonair. M & As in the airline industry are loaded with difficulties. These include prob...
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The article looks at a Canadian airline, WestJet, that began as a low-cost carrier and is now adopting a more hybrid strategy. It analyses the difficulty of such a strategy and makes the comparison with Singapore Airlines (SIA) which has attempted to do the same. The airline industry is notorious for its low profits in the good years and appalling...
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The EFMD 2014 Conference on Master programmes at Grenoble EM gave the opportunity for three professionals to give their opinion business schools are doing well and what they could do better. Many academic conferences can be quite insular with academics largely talking to themselves about what the rest of the world wants or needs. However, EFMD has...
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"As long as the music is playing, you’ve got to get up and dance. We’re still dancing." Chuck Prince’s, justification of the risks Citigroup was taking are synonymous with the carefree spirit that was inherent in the financial industry before 2007. If the real economic consequences had not been so disastrous (job cuts, bankrupt firms, unpaid pensi...
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Over the past 25 years, French higher education has led 'a quiet revolution' in international development. French business school and the other 'Grande Ecole' have been at the forefront of this change. This article, commissioned by the Conference des Grandes Ecoles, outlines the changes that have been made as well as their their impact.
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This article aims to outline how tangible objects can encourage more efficient working practices and how they can be powerful tools for leading change within an organisation. It looks specifically at how Toyota, Haier and IDEO have very powerful symbols and the type of behaviour this wish to encourage with the company. It might seem strange to den...
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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to present how Mark Zuckerberg, a chief executive officer and the founder of the world’s largest social media website, Facebook, understands that he is not always a great communicator. He often chooses to send his more media savvy, Number 2, Sheryl Sandberg to meet journalists. Other business leaders should ta...
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As innovation becomes a critical skill in the 21st-century workplace, teaching innovation becomes an essential job for today's business schools. Here's how three institutions suggest integrating innovative thinking into the curriculum.
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The article will describe how a consortium of business schools, based in one European country, and essentially direct competitors, have successfully worked together over the past 5 years on a strategic marketing alliance for the recruitment of international students. The number of strategic alliances has grown considerably in industry over the past...
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Bonuses: Leading Us to Ruin? The Impact of Financial Incentives on Leadership Within Organizations* Mark Thomas Grenoble Ecole de Management According to Heathfield (2014), a bonus is “used by many organizations as a thank you to employees or a team that achieves significant goals. It improves employee morale, motivation, and productivity” (para...
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"MOOCs are the monster under the bed!" boomed a Dean at an academic conference just over two years ago. "And soon, they are going to come out and get us all!" Two years on and the idea of revolutionary change in higher education seemed to have been mitigated somewhat. The 2014 EFMD Annual Conference in Vienna brought out a more moderated view sugge...
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HBS was created in 1908 and established its case study method in the 1920s. Today, this teaching method is as close to business school orthodoxy as you can possible get. There are approximately 14 000 business schools in the world and you would be hard pressed to find one that did not uses cases to teach business. But why did HBS start teaching thi...
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Last week a group of young researchers at the Shanghai Jiaotong University were busy compiling the 9th version of the Academic Ranking of World Universities. This was first compiled in 2003 and was greeted like a bombshell in France as well as in several other countries.
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Business schools have been involved in social initiatives for many years and even people in their forties or fifties often have fond memories on working on humanitarian or community projects of some kind. However, the past decade has witnessed a significant increase in the number and variety of these initiatives. To some extent development has been...
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The objective of business schools is to educate the “responsible” managers of tomorrow. The student body has therefore been placed at the center of these activities. We will only be partially successful in this mission, however, if we limit our promotion of these notions to the classroom. We must champion them as institutions making a collective co...
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Mark Thomas and Matt Symonds debate whether social media really have a role in promoting business schools
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The financial crisis has very much brought to the fore the role and the impact of business schools upon the economy and society at large. This is perhaps not surprising when considering the numbers involved. Of the 150 largest economic units in the world today, 95 are multinational corporations businesses and only 55 are nation states. And manageme...
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Business schools like to stress awareness of other cultures to their students. As they increasingly offer executive education programmes taught abroad by their own faculty they also need to practise it themselves
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When the Financial Times published its most recent ranking of specialized master's degree programs, seven of the top ten were French schools. This would be an impressive achievement for any country, but it was remarkable coming from a nation reputed to resist globalization and the adoption of the English language. While many reasons contributed to...

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Projects (2)
Project
For the last few years I have been collecting data on mergers and acquisitions in the not for profit sector and more specifically in higher education. I have interviewed more that 80 University Presidents and Deans, Programme Directors and managers, Professors and senior administrators on the challenges of mergers two higher educational institutions. The interviewees come from 10 different HEIs across three continents.