توانایی غیر فشرده اتحاد استراتژیک: ساختار و هدف از اتحاد در مقابل ارتباط با تأمین کنندگان
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|21182||2008||22 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||12040 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Volume 66, Issue 1, April 2008, Pages 106–127
While strategic alliances have received a great deal of attention from academic researchers and practitioners, we still know relatively little about the contracts that govern these alliance relationships and their difference from more complex buyer–supplier contracts. Through an exploration of 15 alliance contracts to develop jet engines between a major aerospace manufacturer and eleven different alliance partners, we seek to understand the structure and purpose of these alliance contracts and their differences from standard buyer–supplier contracts. The alliance contracts we study are designed to share risk, facilitate learning and the exchange of knowledge, specify roles and responsibilities, and provide administrative mechanisms for adapting and resolving disputes. What emerges from this study is a better understanding of how alliances differ from other types of interfirm relationships and how these differences are reflected in the alliance contract.
While alliances have become an increasingly prevalent means of organizing economic activity (e.g., Dyer and Ouchi, 1993) we know relatively little about how they are structured and operated. Alliances have been defined so broadly that they are often impossible to differentiate from other interfirm relationships. Gulati, 1995 and Gulati, 1998 defined alliances as “any independently initiated interfirm link that involves exchange, sharing or co-development.” It would seem that this definition would include any interfirm linkage and such broad definitions are common in empirical research on alliances. Alliances and other “hybrid” organizational forms are typically viewed as mechanisms for governing exchanges or relationships that are more involved than a standard market exchange but do not merit full integration (e.g., Williamson, 1991, Zenger and Hesterly, 1997 and Gulati, 1998). While there has been a lot of empirical work on alliances, we still know relatively little about how they differ from long-term buyer–supplier relationships. One aspect of alliances that has gone largely unexplored is the alliance contract and how it plays a role in codifying a different type of relationship than a long-term buyer contract. While strategy research has seen a tremendous number of alliance articles published in the last 20 years, the same cannot be said of economics research. Empirical economists have instead focused on long-term buyer–supplier contracts and how they are used to create proper incentives and/or overcome exchange hazards (e.g., Crocker and Reynolds, 1993, Joskow, 1988 and Masten and Crocker, 1985). This literature in economics is focused on the contract and the role that it plays in enabling exchange, and in this paper we seek to bring this focus on the contract to examine alliance governance and determine how it differs from long-term buyer–supplier relationships. In doing so, we hope to provide a better definition of what makes alliances unique and how to craft effect contracts to govern alliance relationships. We study 15 alliances entered by a manufacturer of jet engines (hereafter referred to fictitiously as AeroCorp) that involved three different engine development programs and eleven different alliance partners. The alliances include all engine-related alliances entered by AeroCorp from 1977 through 1998. We contrast these alliances with a sample of AeroCorp's supplier agreements that are used to procure similar parts. The alliance and supplier contracts addressed four main sets of issues. First, the contracts specified payment terms and incentives for each of the parties involved so that risks could be clearly identified. Second, the contracts were designed to clarify the structure of the relationship and how the parties would interact. Third, the contracts specified what information, resources and knowledge would be exchanged. Finally, the contracts outlined warranties, liabilities and how disputes would be resolved. We find that alliance contracts differed from more traditional longer-term buyer–supplier contracts in several important respects. Alliance contracts tended to have a longer duration, involve more intricate administrative structures and dispute resolution mechanisms, and specified the exchange of much more firm-specific information, technical knowledge and capabilities (i.e., more learning). In addition, alliances were broader in scope, had very different payment terms (revenue sharing and timing of payment), and involved more joint decision-making. Supply contracts, on the other hand, were shorter and more directly focused on describing the direct interaction and what was necessary for each party in terms of payments from AeroCorp and quantity and quality details for the supplier. There was a good deal of overlap in issues covered under both types of agreements, but the alliance contracts were much longer, more complex and covered a wider range of issues due to the broader scope of the relationship. These findings provide some important insights about theories of contracting and alliances. First, we need to define alliances more carefully when doing empirical work in order to avoid coming to contradictory conclusions due to studying very different types of relationships but calling the all of them alliances. There are many important differences between alliances and traditional supplier relationships that should guide what we classify as an alliance for the purposes of empirical research. Definitions that include all exchange relationships as alliances need to be modified in order to foster the creation of a generalizable body of research about alliances. Second, more attention should be paid to the structure of alliance contracts, as they can tell us a great deal about how the relationship is structured and managed. While alliance governance involves far more than a contract, the contract specifies the administrative structure and processes that will be used to govern the relationship. Contracts are about far more than legal formality; they define the framework for a relationship (Llewellyn, 1931 and Macneil, 1974). This paper contributes to alliance research by identifying four key issues that should be addressed in alliance contracts. Third, the crafting of effective alliance governance requires drawing from multiple theories; no single theory can explain all the elements of AeroCorp's alliance contracts. Alliance contracts must mitigate exchange hazards, but also are often used strategically to enhance learning and capability development. More generally, the complexity of the alliance contract designed by AeroCorp provides anecdotal evidence to support Argyres and Mayer's (2007) argument that contracting may be a capability that can be a source of competitive advantage. Finally, the study provides insight into how alliances are structured in a technology-intensive industry with high fixed costs. In particular, the payment mechanisms in these contracts are very interesting and structured so as to spread risk and create strong incentives that link each party to the success of the overall engine development program. The contracts studied here provide a detailed look at the purpose served by specific clauses, which can guide firms in structuring future alliance contracts. The paper proceeds as follows. We begin by briefly reviewing prior work relevant to understanding how alliances differ from more traditional medium to long-term buyer–supplier contracts. We then introduce the industry setting and examine AeroCorp's alliance contracts and compare them to AeroCorp's supplier contracts. We then draw theoretical implications from the case study that suggest what is unique about alliance contracts and identify some issues that should be addressed in alliance contracts in order to maximize the chances that they alliance will succeed. Concluding remarks follow.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The AeroCorp alliance contracts are very complex agreements that are designed to facilitate many different activities, all under the overarching goal of managing a successful alliance. These contracts differ significantly from AeroCorp's supplier relationships in ways that have not previously been well-explained. This exploratory study has made three contributions to the strategy literature. First, we examine key differences between supplier contracts and alliance contracts. Among other differences, alliances tended to have a wider scope and be affected by a broader range of issues than did supplier contracts. This could partially explain why many studies find that alliances have a higher failure rate: their wider scope involves more complex interaction and joint effort than do traditional long-term relationships. Relatedly, alliance contracts serve many functions that are less relevant in traditional supplier contracts, including facilitating learning, knowledge transfer, joint decision-making, and so on. These are important aspects of a strong alliance relationship and should not be neglected when the relationship is being negotiated. While these issues do not have to be documented in the alliance contract, including them in the contract is typically a good idea because the contract serves as the framework for the relationship; it is where joint agreements are codified in a document that is reviewed carefully by both parties. Finally, the case study provides a detailed analysis of how alliance contracts are structured in an industry with high R&D costs, a steep learning curve, and rapidly changing technology. While not all industries share these characteristics to the same degree as the aerospace industry, many other industries do need to combat many of the same issues and can consider what aspects of this analysis might generalize to their settings. Managers need to make good decisions about when to enter alliances versus when to use more traditional supplier relatonships. A better understanding of how each is governed will help managers to make better choices. Alliances are not the best solution in many situations, but if a firm is going to enter an alliance, it needs to understand how to design it to maximize its chances for success. We hope this paper provides some insight into when to enter an alliance and how to design it.