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Alliances are widespread in today's business world due to their potential to improve business performance and allow firms to achieve goals that they could not easily achieve alone. Increased competition, rapid technological change, and technological discontinuities that are occurring in almost all industries mean that organizations continue to enter a growing number of alliances to enhance their ability to enter new markets, access new resources, explore new business opportunities, and/or minimize risk. However, despite the potential of alliances, firms often fail to reap the anticipated benefits. This chapter has introduced a number of ways in which organizations can address this apparent paradox. In particular, two key ways in which the likelihood of alliance success may be improved is to engage in two distinct tiers of analyses that focus on specific alliances and on developing alliance capability. With respect to specific alliances, they are more likely to succeed if partners are selected on the basis of their ability to offer complementary resources, for being strategically compatible, and for being committed to the alliance. Further, the alliance will need to be carefully managed, as it evolves through critical phases of development, by utilizing appropriate coordination/governance mechanisms to build interdependence and trust between partners. The chapter also discussed how an increasingly common form of fast-moving short-lived alliances, interimistic alliances, alters the degree to which firms can and should rely on various forms of governance to manage such alliances.

Regarding alliance capability, organizations will benefit particularly from making the development of this capability a strategic priority, and systematically investing over time to develop alliance processes and managerial expertise. Alliance capability requires focused attention to develop both a dedicated alliance function and institutionalized processes to accumulate, store, communicate, and leverage alliance experiences organization wide. Having a champion for this within senior leadership is crucial as organizational restructuring and changes in leadership and/or leadership philosophy can limit the embracing of alliance-capability initiatives and result in a costly loss of accumulated experience-based learning. The challenges associated with developing alliance capability should not be underestimated, and expectations should be set accordingly. The path to developing alliance capability is inexact, time consuming, and not well suited to premature assessments of return on investment.

With a view to the future, it should be expected that executives and firms will undoubtedly face fresh challenges and issues regarding the successful use of alliances. Even if a firm possesses effective alliance capability, steps will need to be taken to continue the process of alliance learning to respond to new alliance opportunities that emerge, and to continue to create value as existing alliances evolve. In sum, a firm's future ability to enjoy the benefits and strategic advantages of alliances will depend on their unflagging quest to extend their alliance capabilities and to become, or remain, an effective relationship-based virtual organization whose success is elevated by its competence in managing the key interfirm relationships.


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17. Ibid.

18. Ibid.

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23. Lambe, Spekman, and Hunt (2002).

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26. Ibid.

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28. Lambe, Spekman, and Hunt (2002).

29. Ibid.

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36 . Ibid.

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39. Parkhe (1998); Parkhe (1998).

40. Lambe, Spekman, and Hunt (2000).

41 . Ibid.

42 . Ibid.

43 . Ibid.

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45 . Ibid.

46. Lambe, Spekman, and Hunt (2000).

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49. Ibid.

50. Lambe, Spekman, and Hunt (2000).

51. Ibid.

52. Ibid.

53. Ibid.

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55. Lambe, Spekman, and Hunt (2002).

56. Lambe, C. Jay and Robert E. Spekman (1997), "Alliances, External Technology Acquisition, and Discontinuous Technological Change," Journal of Product Innovation Management, 14 (2): 102-116.

57. Ibid.

58. Lambe, Spekman, and Hunt (2002).

59. Kale, Dyer, and Singh (2002).

60. Ibid.

61. Lambe and Spekman (1997).

62 . Ibid.

63. Lambe, Spekman, and Hunt (2002).

64. Ibid.

65 . Ibid.

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67 . Ibid.

68 . Ibid.

69 . Ibid.

70. Lambe, Spekman, and Hunt (2002).

71 . Ibid.

72 . Lambe and Spekman (1997).

73 . Ibid.

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83. Parkhe (1998).

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