قابلیت مدیریت پیمان و عملکرد شرکت: با استفاده از تئوری مبتنی بر منابع جهت نگرش به درون جعبه سیاه فرآیند
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|13472||2013||17 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||10930 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Long Range Planning, Available online 20 September 2013
This study employs the framework of the resource-based theory (RBT), and investigates the process by which firms can realize the potential value of their alliance management capability. In this process, co-exploration and co-exploitation are regarded as the two main strategic actions needed to leverage alliance management capability. Analyses of multisource, time-lagged data on 172 Finnish manufacturing firms show that alliance management capability has an inverted U-shaped effect on co-exploration, but an increasingly positive effect on co-exploitation. Whereas co-exploration drives firm growth in the longer run, co-exploitation has a positive effect on firms' short-term financial performance. Ambidextrous pursuit of simultaneous co-exploration and co-exploitation, however, is negatively, rather than positively related to firm performance. By shedding light on the black-box process that takes place between alliance management capability and firm performance, these findings add new insights into research on RBT in general and alliance management capability in particular.
The focal role of interorganizational (IO) relationships in firms' value creation is widely recognized (Gassmann et al., 2010, Parmigiani and Rivera-Santos, 2011 and Swoboda et al., 2011). In light of that, it is not surprising that many management and strategy scholars (e.g., Cummings and Holmberg, 2012, Ireland et al., 2002, Kale and Singh, 2009 and Schreiner et al., 2009) have increasingly underscored the importance of organizational capabilities for finding, developing, and managing IO partnerships. These capabilities, referred to as alliance management capabilities (Lambe et al., 2002), have been regarded as key resources in helping firms to effectively pursue their IO relationships (Draulans et al., 2003, Heimeriks et al., 2009 and Schilke and Goerzen, 2010). From the perspective of the resource-based theory (RBT) of the firm (Barney, 1991 and Wernerfelt, 1984), alliance management capabilities can be regarded as heterogeneous and immobile resources that are controlled by a firm, and thus, they can be the basis of superior performance. In particular, alliance management capabilities are valuable because they augment the overall collaboration success (Kale and Singh, 2007 and Lambe et al., 2002) and facilitate the realization of partnership benefits (Ireland et al., 2002 and Rothaermel and Deeds, 2006). Yet, alliance management capabilities are rare and heterogeneously distributed (Anand and Khanna, 2000 and Rothaermel and Deeds, 2006). Indeed, most alliances ultimately fail (Gulati and Kletter, 2005) because firms frequently fail to reap the benefits of their partnerships (Kale and Singh, 2009). The rarity of alliance management capabilities is largely the result of their inimitability. For example, because a firm develops alliance management capabilities through repeated partnership experiences along a unique path in the firm’s history (Kale and Singh, 2009), duplicating these capabilities in other firms is difficult (Barney, 1991). Inimitability also implies that alliance management capabilities are nonsubstitutable, as substitution is a form of imitation (Barney, 1995 and Crook et al., 2008). Due to their value, rarity, inimitability, and nonsubstitutability, alliance management capabilities constitute a potentially important source of sustained competitive advantage (see Barney, 1991 and Combs and Ketchen, 1999). Bundles of capabilities can be an even more important basis of competitive advantage (Newbert, 2007). In this vein, Kandemir et al. (2006) found that a bundle of three specific lower order alliance management capabilities — alliance scanning, alliance coordination, and alliance learning — particularly enhances a firm's ability to achieve its performance objectives through IO relationships. The importance of these particular dimensions is widely recognized, which is reasonable given that alliance scanning enables finding and accessing IO collaboration opportunities in the first place (Gulati, 1999); that alliance coordination problems are the most critical challenges in IO collaborations (Schreiner et al., 2009); and that alliance learning is essential for the successful pursuit of current IO collaborations and the continuous improvement of alliance management skills (Schilke and Goerzen, 2010). Consistent with prior literature (e.g., Ireland et al., 2002, Schreiner et al., 2009 and Schilke and Goerzen, 2010), I term this bundle of lower order alliance capabilities, the “alliance management capability”, which is formally defined as “a firm's skill portfolio of superior capabilities that help it scan its environment for partnering opportunities, coordinate its alliance strategies, and learn from its alliance experiences” (Kandemir et al., 2006, p. 325). Despite alliance management capability's recognized role in building a competitive advantage, questions surrounding the processes through which alliance management capability leads to superior performance remain unanswered. In particular, the strategic actions that a firm must undertake to take advantage of its alliance management capability are poorly understood. This is an important shortcoming in the extant research, as possessing strategic resources is necessary but insufficient, because firms must also take appropriate actions to make use of their resources (Ketchen et al., 2007 and Kraaijenbrink et al., 2010). That is, the potential value of resources remains unrealized as long as the firm does not have an organization and management system that enables their exploitation (Henderson and Cockburn, 1994 and Miller et al., 2008). To gain insight into what is involved in leveraging firm performance through alliance management capability, this article poses the question: How does alliance management capability affect firm performance? This investigation makes two key advances to the extant literature on RBT in general and alliance management capability in particular. First, by answering the “how” question, this study is able to look inside a black box of processes through which alliance management capability contributes to firm performance (Priem and Butler, 2001). This is an important contribution to the RBT discussions, as comprehensive empirical representations of the paths between resources and firm performance have been missing.1 I adhere to recent recommendations by Crook et al., 2008 and Ketchen et al., 2007, and Newbert (2007), and use an integrative framework that includes the mediating variables in the relationship between resources and firm performance (see Figure 1). Beyond the RBT discussions, in general, this article contributes to literatures on alliance management capability and IO relationships, in particular (e.g., Koza and Lewin, 1998 and Parmigiani and Rivera-Santos, 2011). Specifically, to my knowledge, this study presents the first depiction of how alliance management capability influences a firm's pursuit of different types of activities in IO relationships. Second, the inquiry into the “how” question raises another issue: Are the effects of resources always positive? The examination of the process may not only expose the mediating steps between resources and performance, but it may also depict the negative effects within the integrative RBT framework. This perspective is a particularly important addition to previous alliance management capability literature, as the examination of these negative effects is virtually nonexistent in the extant literature. As Armstrong and Shimizu (2007, p. 978) stated, “If we could identify a context in which a seemingly valuable, rare, and hard-to-imitate resource does not provide sustainable competitive advantage and accumulate these findings, we can greatly extend RBV research.” Drawing on the capability – rigidity literature ( Raisch, 2008 and Leonard-Barton, 1992), the current study investigates whether exceptionally strong alliance management capabilities might lead to inertial strategic actions and, thereby, compromise growth, and long-term prospects for short-term performance. Studying these negative effects within the RBT framework helps to cross-validate the theoretical value of the RBT ( Armstrong and Shimizu, 2007) and contributes to nascent discussions on the traps inherent in the path-dependent development of alliance management capabilities ( Heimeriks, 2010).
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Although the current analyses provide novel insights into the process by which alliance management capability influences different aspects of firm performance, it is more appropriate to say that this study has only “looked into” the black box than to say that it has entirely “opened” it. To begin with, with respect to strategic actions, the current study examined only the roles of “pure” forms of co-exploration and co-exploitation (Parmigiani and Rivera-Santos, 2011). However, other meaningful partnership classifications than those based on exploration and exploitation most certainly exist. For example, alliance management capability might confer competitive advantage by facilitating such strategic actions as mergers and acquisitions (Das and Teng, 2000). As future studies identify additional strategic action variables relevant in the process, a greater proportion of firm performance can be explained. Another potential limitation has to do with the research methods. Specifically, even though there are time lags between the perceptual data on independent variables and the objective data on dependent variables, the relationships among independent variables are correlational. Thus, the data do not rule out the possibility of reversed causality in the front part of the model. Fortunately, the employment of a theoretically-robust and an empirically validated RBT framework offers significant relief to this concern, as this framework enables conclusions to be drawn regarding the direction of causality (Shook et al., 2004). Nevertheless, to further validate the causal inferences among resources and strategic actions, future research should employ longitudinal designs and examine how these variables interact over time. It is also important to recognize that the RBT framework is likely more dynamic than depicted in this study. That is, while resources are the driving force of the framework, there can be reciprocal effects on resources. For example, firms can improve their alliance management capability by pursuing IO relationships (strategic action) (Rothaermel and Deeds, 2006). Future research should, therefore, pay more attention to the dynamic relationships within the RBT framework. Whereas two-year firm growth rate was referred to as “long-term” in this research, it should be noted that two years may not be a sufficient amount of time to realize all the long-term effects of IO collaborations. Co-exploration, in particular, is likely to continue influencing firm performance for many years after those captured in this study. Thus, future studies should examine the effects of IO collaborations over longer periods of time. These examinations could also shed additional light on whether or not co-exploration contributes to a firm's financial performance or when this might happen. In addition to more sophisticated causal representations and longer time frames, inductive inquiry into the process between alliance management capabilities and firm performance would deepen our understanding of this process. For example, through qualitative case studies, we could gain more fine-grained insights into the forms of IO relationships, nonlinearities within the process, and the types of performance outcomes. Moreover, by employing an inductive approach, future research could construct a more comprehensive picture of how IO relationships are managed in the interactions between the partners. This would add to the current firm-centric perspective of alliance management capability that places emphasis on the capability of the firm. Developing a more dynamic construct of alliance management capability is yet another frontier for future research. Specifically, while most conceptualizations of alliance management capability (e.g., Kandemir et al., 2006 and Schilke and Goerzen, 2010) involve first-order, path-dependent learning of how to improve the management of partnerships, the higher order learning of how to develop new capabilities has been missing from these conceptualizations. Should such capability be developed, it would prevent alliance management capability from becoming rigid and breeding inertial strategic actions. To conclude, shedding light on how alliance management capability affects firm performance represents the major contribution of this article, a finding that has implications for various research streams. In particular, by demonstrating that exceptionally strong alliance management capability produces inertia in strategic actions, this article significantly increases the current knowledge on the functioning of this particular resource. Perhaps even more importantly, this study clarifies and corrects the prevailing perception that stronger alliance management capability simply enables more extensive co-exploration. Overall, this research is an early inquiry into the process that depicts alliance management capability's effects on firm performance. While it is clear that more research is needed to better map out all relevant relationships, the findings of this study serve as an important basis for future endeavors.