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Collaborative patterns and power imbalance in strategic alliance networks
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 authored by Jason WestJason West
Firms are connected with other firms through a variety of economic relationships that can be viewed as a form of social network. Resource-dependency theory (RDT) suggests that formal joint ventures among firms occur as a result of resource procurement, perceived strategic interdependence, expansion opportunities, legitimacy, and risk mitigation. A key unexplored element of RDT is the collaborative structure among firms with technical capabilities subordinate to their alliance partners and whether such structures are able to leverage sufficient market power to influence the industry sector within which they exist. Using the network characteristics of alliance partners in a technology- and capital-intensive industry sector, this work empirically examines the aggregate market power of so-called generalist firms. Collaborative patterns in the resources and mining sector and their impact on firm performance and resource quality are investigated using social network analysis. It is found that firms engaged in strategic alliances outperform firms operating independently; however, beyond a certain number of alliance partners, their performance declines. It was also found that, in aggregate, generalist nontechnical alliance partners can exercise significant market power in dense alliance networks, despite possessing almost no technical industry experience.