Competition for competence and interpartner learning within international strategic alliances

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Abstract

Global competition highlights asymmetries in the skill endowments of firms. Collaboration may provide an opportunity for one partner to internalize the skills of the other, and thus improve its position both within and without the alliance. Detailed analysis of nine international alliances yielded a fine-grained understanding of the determinants of interpartner learning. The study suggests that not all partners are equally adept at learning; that asymmetries in learning alter the relative bargaining power of partners; that stability and longevity may be inappropriate metrics of partnership success; that partners may have competitive, as well as collaborative aims, vis-à-vis each other; and that process may be more important than structure in determining learning outcomes.

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