A. Gary Anderson
Graduate School of Management

Exploring the Strategic Decisions Driving Mergers and Acquisitions

Jerayr “John” Haleblian is UCR’s recently named Anderson Presidential Chair in Business Administration, and his current research examines target firms’ board composition.
By Laurie McLaughlin |

Professor of Management Jerayr “John” Haleblian earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in psychology before earning a Ph.D. in business. During his academic career, he’s found that the two disciplines marry well within his teaching and research.

“Training in psychology helped me better understand how organizational actors can influence strategic decisions,” says Haleblian, whose research interests include mergers and acquisitions, organizational learning, and strategic leadership. “I have often used that lens to explore how decisions are made and their influence on firm outcomes.”

Haleblian is a widely published acquisitions scholar, associate dean of faculty, department chair at UC Riverside’s School of Business, and was named Anderson Presidential Chair in Business Administration last year. “The Anderson family has been the most generous donor to the school,” he says. “It’s always an honor when your colleagues consider your research accomplishments to be worthy of a chair, the highest research distinction a university can confer.”

Currently, Haleblian’s research looks at how board composition affects a company’s sale: “From the perspective of the firm being bought, their board of directors can have a positive impact on value achieved for target shareholders,” he says of his findings. “Specifically, target boards that meet more often and comprise some female board members, board members that serve only on one board, and board members who have acquisition experience, tend to enhance target firm performance.”

His previous research includes co-authored studies published in Administrative Science Quarterly, Academy of Management Journal, Strategic Management Journal, Organization Science, and the Harvard Business Review, among many other publications. His work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Economist, and Businessweek.  

Having earned his doctoral degree at University of Southern California, Haleblian joined UCR’s business faculty in 1995. From 2011 to 2014, he taught at the University of Georgia and then returned to UCR, where he appreciates the diversity of the students he teaches. “Many are first-generation college students, and it’s rewarding to teach young minds and help them on their path to improving their social mobility,” he says.

Within his classroom, his research helps students understand the mutable nature of the business world and the avenues successful corporate leadership must navigate. “Strategic management is an inherently interesting topic because it’s not always clear why some firms perform better than others,” says Haleblian. With a nod to his background in psychology, he adds, “Business is also a great context to assess individual decision processes.”