Keywords: knowledge management, strategic alliances, technology alliances, industry rivalry, patents, communications industry, knowledge based view, transaction cost economics, organisational learning, competitors, governance
Technological knowledge and governance in alliances among competitors
This study examines how the governance form of an alliance enables partners to develop, transfer and protect knowledge in alliances. More integrative forms of control are expected when collaborations are exploratory in nature, when partners are moderately similar in technological knowledge and when industry rivalry increases. An empirical analysis of alliances, patent cross-citation rates and industry structure for 109 firms in the communications equipment industry over ten years offers support for the hypothesised effects. Support was found for a curvilinear relationship between the technological similarity of partners and the form of alliance governance. Results confirm that similarity in technology knowledge and industry rivalry influence alliance partners' choice of governance.