Handbook of Research on Competitive Strategy
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Handbook of Research on Competitive Strategy

Edited by Giovanni Battista Dagnino

The Handbook of Research on Competitive Strategy presents a comprehensive state-of-the-art picture of current strategic management issues and demarcates the major investigation strands that are likely to shape the field into the future.
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Chapter 12: Strategic Implications of Alliance Formation and Dynamics: A Comprehensive Review

Africa Ariño and Esteban García-Canal


1 Africa Ariño and Esteban García-Canal INTRODUCTION Until the early 1980s, very little attention was paid to analyzing the strategic alliances (SAs) and cooperative agreements between firms. Nevertheless, from that moment onwards, there was an increasing interest in SAs and the number of papers on that topic has grown exponentially. The main reason for this growth was the importance that SAs began to gain, as the number of agreements of all kinds became larger, even in circumstances where they had not occurred up to that point, as in the case of SAs created by large corporations in order to develop new technologies or to coordinate their international strategies. Due precisely to the growth in this stream of research, this seems to be an appropriate moment to review this literature in order to synthesize the main advances in our knowledge of SAs. Thus, this chapter is organized around the main lines of the field including research on the logic of alliance formation, their governance form, and dynamic and performance issues. THE LOGIC OF ALLIANCE FORMATION Why do companies engage in SAs? There are many ways to approach this question. We will focus on SAs as a mechanism to deal with uncertainty, and as a vehicle to access requisite resources. In so doing, we will review some extant theoretical perspectives on SA formation including real options theory, transaction cost economics, the resource-based perspective, the learning-race view, the knowledge-access perspective, and the relational view. Two types of uncertainty surround any transaction:...

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