Table of Contents

Handbook on International Alliance and Network Research

Handbook on International Alliance and Network Research

Research Handbooks in Business and Management series

Edited by Jorma Larimo, Niina Nummela and Tuija Mainela

Over the past few decades, alliance and networks have been generally examined individually. This Handbook sheds new light on this research by combining the two topics and focuses on highlighting their similarities. The expert contributors discuss topics surrounding the state-of-the-art in alliance and network research, conceptual development in alliance and network research and empirical evidence of international alliances and networks. They combine diverse types of studies including literature reviews, conceptual papers and empirical studies in order to provide the reader with a comprehensive understanding of the topic.

Introduction: filling gaps in research on interfirm collaboration – focus on alliances and networks

Jorma Larimo, Niina Nummela and Tuija Mainela

Subjects: business and management, international business


Companies’ international growth may take several forms, but increasingly the most common alternatives for organizing growth are various hybrid forms. In this volume, hybrid organizations refers to the business activities that fall in between markets and hierarchies (Powell, 1987) and the governance structures that have been created around them. In particular, we focus on two concepts intimately related with the phenomenon of hybrids in international business: alliances and networks. The definition of alliances and networks is not straightforward and previous research differs in its views about whether alliances are actually networks, networks can be seen as alliances or are the two totally separate? For example, Gulati (1998, p. 293) represents the latter view when he looks at embeddedness of alliances, that is, ‘voluntary arrangements between firms involving exchange, sharing or co-development of products, technologies or services’, in social networks, that is, ‘a set of nodes (e.g., persons, organizations) linked by a set of social relationships (e.g., friendship, transfer of funds, overlapping membership) of a specified type’ (ibid., p. 295). Mainela and Puhakka (2008, p. 17), in turn, define an international joint venture as ‘a small international network – a triad’.