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Strategic alliance outcomes: The role of strategic fit

Mary Ellen Gordon, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Strategic Alliances, defined as long term relationships undertaken with strategic intent for the joint accomplishment of individual objectives, have become prominent in recent years. Many alliances do not achieve their objectives, yet there is no consensus opinion regarding why. In this dissertation, I introduce and evaluate a framework to examine the outcome of alliances. In the framework, strategic fit, relationship quality, expectation confirmation, and alliance structure are conceptualized as antecedents of alliance outcomes. I draw support for the framework from empirical literature on alliances, and four theoretical perspectives. The theory bases I draw on are transaction cost analysis, the resource based view of the firm, channels management and satisfaction. I evaluated the framework empirically using a pharmaceutical context. Interviews with experts were used to establish the face validity of the framework. A survey methodology was used to gather quantitative data from firms involved in alliances. Measures and composite indices of the constructs in the alliance outcome framework were developed. The relationships in the framework were tested with OLS regression. The interviews supported the contention that each of the constructs in the framework influences alliance outcomes. The quantitative study suggested that strategic fit does help explain alliance outcomes, but in a different way than was anticipated. Specifically, it appears from this study that more resources lead to better alliance outcomes even if the resources of the partners are redundant. The key contributions of this research are threefold. First, it compares the relative contribution of structural, behavioral (relationship quality), economic (strategic fit) and perceptual (expectation confirmation) explanations of alliance outcomes, suggesting that relationship quality may be relatively less important than previous research reports. Second, it highlights the role of partner compatibility in alliance outcomes and introduces three different compatibility measures. Third, it introduces a measure of alliance outcomes that is more consistent with managerial conceptualizations of this construct than previous research.

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Recommended Citation

Gordon, Mary Ellen, "Strategic alliance outcomes: The role of strategic fit" (1995). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9541112.