This paper introduces a social network perspective to the study of strategic alliances. It extends prior research, which has primarily considered alliances as dyadic exchanges and paid less attention to the fact that key precursors, processes, and outcomes associated with alliances can be defined and shaped in important ways by the social networks within which most firms are embedded. It identifies five key issues for the study of alliances: (1) the formation of alliances, (2) the choice of governance structure, (3) the dynamic evolution of alliances, (4) the performance of alliances, and (5) the performance consequences for firms entering alliances. For each of these issues, this paper outlines some of the current research and debates at the firm and dyad level and then discusses some of the new and important insights that result from introducing a network perspective. It highlights current network research on alliances and suggests an agenda for future research.© 1998 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.