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Factors Influencing Partner Selection in Strategic Alliances: The Moderating Role of Alliance Context

Reshma H. Shah and Vanitha Swaminathan
Strategic Management Journal
Vol. 29, No. 5 (May, 2008), pp. 471-494
Published by: Wiley
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20142034
Page Count: 24
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Factors Influencing Partner Selection in Strategic Alliances: The Moderating Role of Alliance Context
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Abstract

The growth of alliances has generated considerable interest in this topic among both academics and practitioners. While multiple factors may affect alliance success, partner selection emerges as one of the most influential. Previous studies on alliances present general models that assume the factors (e.g., trust, commitment, complementarity, financial payoff) that drive partner attractiveness and, in turn, the likelihood of selection, are consistent across varying alliance projects and situations. In contrast, the present study proposes a contingency approach grounded in management control theory that suggests the criteria managers use in choosing alliance partners will vary by alliance project type. Specifically, it introduces a framework that addresses when and why managers select partners with certain, specific characteristics. The results of the present study strongly support hypotheses that the critical criteria for assessing alliance partner attractiveness and selection vary depending on the differential levels of process manageability and outcome interpretability inherent in a strategic alliance. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.

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