Session 163

Resources and Capabilities to Strengthen Alliance Formation and Execution

Track E

Date: Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Time: 10:00 – 11:15


Room: Meeting Room 9

Session Chair:
Dovev Lavie, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology

Title: Are All Past Experience Equal: The Differing Effects of Alliance Governance on Building Firm Capabilities


  • Rui Wu, Tsinghua University

Abstract: Firms employ different governance structures in strategic alliances depending on the varying levels of contractual risks. However we know little about how such governance structures shape the path through which firms build capabilities. I propose a theoretical model examining the different capability building processes of various governance structures in alliance relationships. I categorize two types of capabilities that are fundamental in cooperative relationships: contract design capability and coordination capability. As firms accumulate collaborative experience from prior alliances, they build these capabilities along different trajectories. These learning paths are further moderated by technological diversity in partners’ prior alliance experiences. This study contributes to the alliance research by analyzing the learning process as embedded in interfirm governance, thus connecting transaction cost economics with the learning perspective.

Title: Contract Design in Buyer-Supplier Relations: A Closer Look at Specificity and Safeguarding


  • Thomas Mellewigt, Free University of Berlin
  • Ingo Weller, Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich
  • Bjoern Eckhard, Free University of Berlin

Abstract: Contracts have traditionally been considered as safeguarding devices against potential opportunism. Researchers have challenged this view and emphasized that contracts have adaptability and coordination functions also. With panel data from the German automotive industry we analyze contracting decisions in supplier-manufacturer alliances. Besides transaction hazards we analyze learning and knowledge management effects on contract decisions. We find that contracts increase in complexity over time. While task interdependence and volatility predict the contractual coordination and adaptability functions, asset specificity shows a more subtle, relation-specific effect on safeguarding. We discuss alternative explanations for the results, and identify future research avenues.

Title: Extracting Benefits from Diversity: Relative Contribution of Alliance Content and Partner Diversity to Firm Performance


  • Olga Bruyaka, West Virginia University
  • Turanay Caner, St. John's University

Abstract: In this paper we examine how different dimensions of alliance portfolio diversity (APD) – alliance content diversity and alliance partner diversity –differentially contribute to firms’ market performance. Drawing on the resource based view, organizational learning theory, and transaction costs economics; we develop theoretical arguments about direct and interaction effects of the two APD dimensions and explore value appropriation conditions reflected in firm specific characteristics – focal firm’s absorptive capacity and relative bargaining power. The empirical study introduces a new combined measure of APD as a two-dimensional construct based on vector algebra techniques. We test our hypotheses on a sample of US biopharmaceutical companies from 1995 to 2007. Empirical results partly confirm our theoretical advances.

Title: Ownership in R&D Alliances: The Influence of Complementary and Relationship-Specific Resources


  • Jason Pattit, University of St. Thomas
  • Catherine Maritan, Syracuse University

Abstract: R&D alliances represent a way for firms to pool resources and acquire new innovation capabilities. However, developing a contract to govern an R&D alliance is likely to be difficult in the face of uncertainty, opportunism and complexity. Both transaction cost economics and modern property rights theory suggest that short of total integration, some level of ownership is necessary in an alliance to contend with such hazards, particularly when complementary R&D resources are involved. However, there may be situations where such complementary resources are equally or more valuable if utilized outside of the alliance. Thus, we empirically examine the relationship between complementary resources and ownership, and then turn to an investigation of how this relationship is impacted by the availability of valuable alternatives.

All Sessions in Track E...

Sun: 10:00 – 11:30
Session 256: Discipline Based Theories: What Do Theories of the Firm Say About Organizational Dynamics
Sun: 13:00 – 14:30
Session 257: Applying Theories: What Does Strategy & Organization Say About Health Care?
Sun: 15:00 – 16:30
Session 258: Integrating Theories of Problem Formation
Sun: 16:30 – 17:30
Session 309: Competitive Strategy, IG Meeting
Mon: 12:45 – 14:00
Session 159: Strategic Factor Markets: Antecedents, Consequences and Dynamics
Session 166: Competitive Strategy and the Business of Science
Mon: 15:45 – 17:00
Session 160: Emerging Strategies in Acquisition
Session 220: Contemporary Challenges to Organization Theory
Mon: 17:15 – 18:30
Session 157: Managerial Cognition and Dynamic Capabilities at the Crossroads: Current Issues and Novel Strands of Development
Session 222: Challenging Traditional Notions of Competitive Strategies and Competitive Advantage
Tue: 10:00 – 11:15
Session 161: Demand-based Approaches to Strategy: The Role of Customers and Communities
Session 163: Resources and Capabilities to Strengthen Alliance Formation and Execution
Tue: 11:30 – 12:45
Session 164: Competitive Strategy and Firm Performance
Session 165: Emerging Organizational Solutions for Exploration Strategies
Tue: 14:30 – 15:45
Session 158: Strategic Change and Dynamic Capabilities
Session 169: Unpacking Sources of Heterogeneity: Market Frictions, Firm Resources, Strategic Actions
Wed: 10:00 – 11:15
Session 216: Industry Evolution and Resource Architecture
Session 217: Designing Organizations to Sustain Performance
Wed: 11:30 – 12:45
Session 214: Managerial Capabilities and the Microfoundations of Strategy

Strategic Management Society

Washington DC