The evolution of alliance capabilities

K.H. Heimeriks, G.M. Duysters, W.P.M. Vanhaverbeke

Research output: Book/ReportReportAcademic

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Abstract

This paper assesses the effectiveness and differential performance effects of learning mechanisms on the evolution of alliance capabilities. Relying on the concept of capability lifecycles, prior research has suggested that different capability levels could be identified in which different intra-firm learning mechanisms are used to enhance a firm’s alliance capability. However, empirical testing in this field is scarce and little is known as to what extent different micro-level learning mechanisms are indeed useful in advancing a firm’s alliance capability. This paper analyzes to what extent intra-firm learning mechanisms help firms evolve their alliance capability and create competitive heterogeneity. Differential learning may induce firms to yield superior returns in their alliances in comparison to competitors. We present a conceptual model that assumes capabilities evolve through different types of learning. The results show that different learning mechanisms have different performance effects at different stages of the alliance capability development process. This points to differential learning effects of learning mechanisms at the different levels of alliance capability. The main lesson from this paper is that firms can influence the evolution of their alliance capability as different mechanisms have differential performance effects and are more appropriate at different levels of alliance capability.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationEindhoven
PublisherTechnische Universiteit Eindhoven
Number of pages34
Publication statusPublished - 2004

Publication series

NameECIS working paper series
Volume200420

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