The role of strategic alliances in complementing firm capabilities
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Strategic alliance research emerged to explain alliance formation based upon transaction cost minimisation and opportunism reduction. Later research, and early research from Japan, emphasised the role of alliances in facilitating the transfer of knowledge between organisations. Most recently, alliance research has focussed on the development of shared, potentially idiosyncratic, resource stocks. This paper builds on this recent research, testing the proposition that alliances are important vehicles allowing firms to access or acquire external resources, hence shoring up capability gaps and building new capabilities as required during firm, product and industry life cycles. Using a sample from Australian manufacturing small-and-medium-sized enterprises, the paper reveals that alliances employed by firms can be viewed as initiatives to either fill a gap in the firm's resource stock or to exploit a perceived opportunity in its operational and strategic environment.
Journal of Management & Organization
Innovation and Technology Management