Session 128

Is He The One? Partner Selection and Tie Formation

Track B

Date: Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Time: 14:30 – 15:45


Room: Meeting Room 14

Session Chair:
Rafael Corredoira, Ohio State University

Title: Sourcing Capabilities through Alliances: A Study of the Semiconductor Industry


  • Jeffrey Reuer, University of Colorado, Boulder
  • Nandini Lahiri, American University

Abstract: When firms make use of collaborative agreements to access new knowledge or other resources, not only can they confront various well-known exchange hazards arising at the alliance implementation stage, but they can also face challenges in identifying as well as evaluating partners and their resources in the first place. In this study, we analyze firms’ alliance formation behavior by investigating their selection of alliance partners. Our theoretical arguments use ideas from information economics and connect the costs of partner search and selection to the geographic distance spanning prospective exchange partners. The evidence confirms that the likelihood of two firms entering into a collaborative agreement declines with geographic distance, all else being equal. Empirical results reveal that geographic distance effects are diminished by a prospective partner’s alliance formation activity and are greater for collaborative agreements that would join firms operating in different industries or possessing dissimilar knowledge resources.

Title: Uncertainty and the Selection of Network Partners: An Empirical Test of Rival Theoretical Views


  • Francesca Pallotti, University of Lugano
  • Alessandro Lomi, University of Lugano

Abstract: One theoretical vision suggests that organizations protect their operational core by extending hierarchical control over sources of perceived uncertainty. A second vision suggests that as uncertainty increases, organizations tend to embed transactions in complex networks of inter-organizational relations. We investigate which one of these visions best characterizes the network of inter-organizational relations among the 91 hospitals organizations. Using data that we have collected on patterns of inter-organizational patient exchange, we test rival hypotheses about the effect of uncertainty on exchange among the members of organizational communities. We find that organizations performing more uncertain activities display a higher propensity to initiate exchange relations. We also find that organizations facing similar degrees of uncertainty are significantly more likely to select each other as exchange partners.

Title: The Liability of Connectedness: Mortality Rates in Interorganizational Networks


  • Maud Pindard-Lejarraga, IE Business School
  • Isabel Gutierrez, Carlos III University

Abstract: In this paper, we study the effect of cooperative networks within an organizational population on mortality rates. We use data on Spanish railway companies and find that cooperative ties are beneficial when they link organizations of the same form – two generalists or two specialists – but that a liability of connectedness exists for ties across forms: cooperative ties with specialists increase the mortality chances of generalists. We also find that there are asymmetries in the effect of ties, since ties between generalists and specialists do not increase the mortality of specialists. These results have important implications for theorists and managers, as they show the potential risks associated with engaging in an external relationship, and that such relationships do not always act as buffers from environmental uncertainty.

All Sessions in Track B...

Mon: 12:45 – 14:00
Session 123: The Configuration of Alliance Portfolios: Antecedents and Consequences
Mon: 15:45 – 17:00
Session 131: Managing External Relationships: Perception, Judgement and Action
Session 132: Uncertainty and the Leveraging of Relational Mechanisms in Alliances
Mon: 17:15 – 18:30
Session 126: Getting It Right: Buyer-Supplier Relationships
Tue: 10:00 – 11:15
Session 124: License to Deal: Technology Licensing, Innovation, and Corporate Investment
Tue: 11:30 – 12:45
Session 127: Law and Order: Alliance Governance Decisions
Session 134: Organizational Design and Networking Strategies under Uncertainty
Tue: 14:30 – 15:45
Session 128: Is He The One? Partner Selection and Tie Formation
Session 133: The Dynamics of Interorganizational Networks and Their Performance Implications
Wed: 10:00 – 11:15
Session 129: Putting Things in Context: Competition and Network Dynamics
Wed: 11:30 – 12:45
Session 130: Alliances, Knowledge Transfer, and Performance
Session 135: The Good, the Bad and the Not so Bad: Enhancing Performance by Discerning External Relationships

Strategic Management Society

Washington DC