The Influence of Culture on Successful Cooperation
Edited by Jan Ulijn, Geert Duysters and Elise Meijer
Chapter 4: Culture and its Perception in Strategic Alliances: Does it Affect Performance? An Exploratory Study into Dutch–German Ventures
4. Culture and its perception in strategic alliances: does it affect performance? An exploratory study into Dutch–German ventures Jan Ulijn, Geert Duysters and Jean-Marie Fèvre If there isn’t a reasonable cultural fit, I wouldn’t touch it. We acquired a small company providing telecom services to prisons. We didn’t have a thing in common: the wrong business, the wrong people. It didn’t have a chance. (Euan Baird, CEO, Schlumberger, quoted in Gancel et al., 2002, 29) Although the recent wave of newly established strategic alliances might suggest win-win situations for all the companies involved in cooperative agreements, mortality rates of cooperative agreements have always been extremely high. From an extensive literature review (see Duysters et al., 1999) we conclude that the percentage of strategic alliances that fail should be about 50–60 per cent, which is a rate between the optimistic and pessimistic conclusions of different authors. Reasons for these high failure rates have always remained rather vague. Most authors suggest that a mismatch in terms of alliance fit is the most important reason for alliance failure. Fit can arise in three main forms: strategic fit, organizational fit and cultural fit. Most of the attention in the literature has been dedicated to strategic and organizational fit of organizations. Cultural fit has received far less attention. In order to fill this void we will perform an empirical analysis of cultural fit in strategic alliances between Dutch and German companies, as an example of how even two very related national cultures...
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