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A Study on Alliance Factors That Influence Firm Performance : Alliance Strategy, Alliance Diversity and Alliance Capability

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy

This thesis is structured as three papers and aims to explore three main alliance factors that relate to firm performance, with a sample of China and Taiwan companies from the printed circuit board industry and plastic rubber industry. Firm performance depends on firm strategy and how resources are configured. A critical alliance factor is alliance strategy, which can determine how firms form and operate their alliances. Alliance strategy can be either a standalone strategy or a portfolio strategy. I attempt to determine (1) if managerial characteristics and compensation package relate to the choice of alliance strategy; (2) if alliance strategy impacts on alliance diversities and firm performance relationships; (3) if alliance capabilities impact on the alliance strategy and firm performance relationship.

Paper 1 builds on upper echelon theory and agency theory. I theorise that managerial characteristics and compensation package are the key determinants to understand why executives adopt different alliance strategies. The results show that tenure, executives’ educational background, functional background and variable pay are important to predict the choice of an alliance strategy.

Paper 2 builds on the resource-based view. I explore the alliance strategy as a moderating influence between alliance diversities (partner, functional and governance) and firm performance. The results show that alliance strategy impacts on partner diversity and firm performance. However, it does not impact on the functional diversity-firm performance and governance diversity-firm performance relationships. Governance diversity is related to firm performance only when partner diversity is also considered.

Paper 3 builds on the resource-based view. I suggest that alliance capabilities are a mediating influence between alliance strategy and firm performance. The results demonstrate that individual alliance capabilities complement standalone alliance strategy, and portfolio alliance capabilities and individual alliance capabilities both complement portfolio alliance strategy.

Theoretical contributions, possible future research and managerial implications are discussed in relation to current theories of alliance strategy, alliance diversity and alliance capabilities.
Original languageEnglish
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Award date1 Feb 2018

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