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Handbook of Research on Techno-Entrepreneurship

Edited by François Thérin

Techno-entrepreneurship is broadly defined as the entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial activities of both existing and nascent companies operating in technology-intensive environments. Boasting rich conceptual and empirical contributions by leading international specialists, this highly original Handbook will prove an invaluable tool in advancing our understanding of the theory and practice of research in this emerging area. The expert contributors initially explore the foundations of the field, clearly defining the parameters of techno-entrepreneurship.
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Chapter 13: Virtual Alliances as Coordination and Influence Mechanisms in the Internet Context: Evidence from a Cross-Section of Internet-Based Firms

Lalit Manral


13 Virtual alliances as coordination and influence mechanisms in the Internet context: evidence from a cross-section of Internet-based firms Lalit Manral Virtual alliances are options to use tangible or intangible assets owned or controlled by partner firms to provide services. They differ from other alliances in their virtuality (control). Since no partner commits specialized assets to the relationship, their flexibility and ease of switching differs from other forms of inter-firm cooperation. Not confined to virtual firms alone, virtual alliances have been used by a variety of firms to build legitimacy, propagate standards, reach new customers, coordinate with stakeholders and potential partners, and accomplish other purposes. As competitive and organizational phenomena evocative of their era, virtual alliances present novel issues of interest to strategic management research. Virtual alliances should not be confused with conventional strategic alliances or with firms’ outsourcing arrangements in which virtuality replaces ownership of vertically related value-adding operations (Chesbrough and Teece, 1996), a 1980s practice castigated as the hollowing-out of an industrial firm (Jonas, 1985; Bettis, Bradley and Hamel, 1992). Virtual alliances can be horizontal in scope, as well as vertical, and differ from conventional ‘strategic alliances’ in three salient ways: (1) they have no specific partnership commitments to duration and exclusivity, (2) they use partners’ general-use assets, but neither own assets in their own right nor commit themselves to owning them in the future; that is, they are characterized by lack of asset specificity, and (3) they are at...

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