Four essays on antecedents and consequences of governance in strategic alliances

Publication Type:
Thesis
Issue Date:
2008
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NO FULL TEXT AVAILABLE. Access is restricted indefinitely. ----- As long as almost every second strategic alliance between organizations fails to achieve its anticipated performance outcomes, there is a vital need to improve our understanding of how to best manage alliances. I address this call in my thesis by forwarding two independent theoretic perspectives on the governance of strategic alliances. One perspective is on antecedents of alliance governance-it explains how different forms of alliance governance are established as a function of the partners' goal incongruence, performance ambiguity, and the complexity of their contractual agreements. The associated conceptual model of alliance contracting and governance expands .on the organizational control perspective :and recent theoretical contributions on contractual complexity in alliances. The second perspective I put forth is on the consequences of alliance governance-it explains how governance and leadership practices in alliances co-occur and jointly influence the development of dynamic and operational capabilities, which are essential for the alliance to perform and create .economic rents. My model of governance, leadership, and capability development in alliances is embedded in stewardship theory, full-range leadership theory, and the dynamic capability perspective. In a study of 369 alliances I test the two theoretical models. The empirical result supports the first conceptual model and accentuates the central role of contractual complexity as an antecedent to alliance governance. Bureaucracy, market, clan, and adhocracy governance in alliances can be explained as a function of contractual complexity, goal incongruence, and performance ambiguity among alliance partners. I also investigate antecedents of contractual complexity. The theoretical model, the survey results, and earlier research are consistent in regards to the impact of asset specificity, time boundedness, and strategic importance on goal incongruence, performance ambiguity, and contractual complexity. In regards to the influence of prior ties among alliance partners and the effects of partner search costs on contractual complexity, I find that the empirical results are not consistent with previous research. The findings regarding the model of governance, leadership, and capability development in alliances imply that the positive relationship between transformational leadership and the development of dynamic capabilities is stronger with stewardship governance and weaker with agency governance. In addition, transactional leadership behavior is significantly associated with both dynamic and operational capability development in the case of stewardship governance. Overall, this research confirms that governance is a fundamental aspect of alliance management that alliance partners can influence and improve once they have a good understanding of the factors that underlie and influence their decisions about governance mechanisms. In view of that, this thesis stresses in particular the role of factors that establish the alignment of alliance partners' objectives, the transparency of their mutual contribution, and the complexity of their contractual agreements. Furthermore, this study posits that governance enables leadership and capability development in alliances. I find that a comprehensive effect of different leadership behaviors on the dynamic and operational capability base in alliances can be achieved by employing stewardship type governance. The improvement of alliance performance as a result of dynamic capabilities is, thus, greatly influenced by the interplay of alliance governance with the transformational and transactional leadership behaviors of the alliance managers.
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