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The determinants of inter-partner learning in alliances: An empirical study in e-commerce

Abstract : (from the chapter) One of the main motivations for companies to form inter-firm alliances is learning, that is, the integration of a resource, a routine, or, more generally, knowledge into a firm. To explain learning in alliances, most research has used firm-level concepts, among which we can cite the absorptive capacity of the firm, its experience in dealing with alliances, its knowledge base, its intent to learn, the alliance content and governance, and the relative scope of an alliance. We argue that these concepts are partially redundant and a shift to the micro-level of analysis shows that they are based on overlapping components. In this chapter, we propose that these micro-level components of inter-partner learning in alliances determine two essential abilities: a learning ability and a protection ability, which in turn influence the actual transfer of resources between the partner firms. The empirical setting chosen to test our model is e-commerce alliances, defined as alliances created between companies in order to conduct activities on the internet. After several rounds of interviews with managers of e-commerce companies and industry experts, a web-based questionnaire was developed, and 124 usable responses were collected. We find support for the existence of two distinct abilities, an ability to learn and an ability to protect in alliances. We show that both the firm's ability to learn from its alliances and its ability to protect in its alliances rely on a blend of firm-specific and alliance-specific micro-components. In addition to these two hypothesized abilities, we empirically show the existence of a third ability, the firm's ability to simultaneously learn and protect in alliances.
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Contributor : Antoine Haldemann Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Saturday, June 16, 2012 - 6:42:56 PM
Last modification on : Saturday, June 25, 2022 - 10:53:41 AM


  • HAL Id : hal-00709005, version 1




Pierre Dussauge, Miguel Rivera-Santos, Will Mitchell. The determinants of inter-partner learning in alliances: An empirical study in e-commerce. A. Capasso, G. B. Dagnino et A. Lanza, eds. Strategic Capabilities and Knowledge Transfer within and between Organizations, Edward Elgar Publishers, pp. 275-305, 2005. ⟨hal-00709005⟩



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