اتحادهای استراتژیک و توسعه محصول در شرکت های جدید با تکنولوژی پیشرفته : اثر تعدیل قابلیت های تکنولوژیکی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|2788||2012||17 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Business Venturing, Volume 27, Issue 2, March 2012, Pages 217–233
High technology new firms have extensively used strategic alliances to gain access to knowledge, resources and capabilities. However, given their inexperience and limited resources, these firms are vulnerable to their more established partners' potential opportunism. This raises the question: How can new firms maximize the benefits of these alliances while reducing their risks? In this study, we address this question by drawing upon the capabilities perspective to propose that the impact of upstream, horizontal, and downstream alliances on product development depends on the degree of specialization of new firms' technological capabilities. Using a database of biotechnology firms, the results support this argument even when different types of strategic alliances are considered.
Turning research discoveries into marketable products and taking them to the market is important for new firms operating in high technology industries such as biotechnology, software, medical technology, and semiconductors. High technology new firms (HTNFs) are small and medium-sized enterprises that are too young to have completed a full new product development (NPD) cycle.3 These HTNFs often compete in dynamic and fierce environments (D'Aveni, 1994) and need to develop and commercialize new products in order to exploit promising market opportunities, generate needed cash flows, and make a profit. Yet, developing, testing and commercializing new products can be costly and time consuming processes, and their financial outcomes uncertain. For example, NPD in the biopharmaceutical industry can generate several billion $US in revenues when a new blockbuster drug is successfully introduced to the market. Conversely, it can lead to the loss of hundreds of millions of $US if the drug candidate fails during late development stages (DiMasi et al., 2003). HTNFs are often unable to assemble the right mix of capabilities needed for NPD internally (Eisenhardt and Schoonhoven, 1996). Capabilities denote “the set of tangible and intangible assets that enable an organization to develop, make, and market goods” (Gomes-Casseres, 1996: 30). In HTNFs, “those organizational capabilities or competencies which give rise to competitive advantage are not “simple” assets, but compound asset structures which are built over time and are path dependent” (Deeds et al., 1999: 213). For example, HTNFs' capabilities include the skills of their research teams, R&D management skills, and access to external information sources (Deeds et al., 1999). Since it often takes years to develop these capabilities many HTNFs have joined strategic alliances to develop the capabilities needed for NPD (Hagedoorn, 1993, Rothaermel and Deeds, 2004, Shan et al., 1994, George et al., 2002 and Patzelt et al., 2008). A strategic alliance is a cooperative relationship between two or more firms to develop and commercialize a product (Deeds and Hill, 1996). Many of the alliances that HTNFs have formed have been with established industry incumbents who have strong NPD-related resources. HTNFs are desired partners for incumbents to ally with in order to adapt to new technology and fill their product pipelines (Rothaermel, 2001). However, the need to access, acquire and assemble capabilities quickly may lead some HTNFs to join alliances under unfavorable conditions that make these alliances unstable and even prone to failure (Lerner and Merges, 1998 and Lerner et al., 2003). Indeed, in industries where NPD is based on specialized and complex organizational knowledge – defined as the explicit (e.g., patents and publications) or tacit (e.g., research expertise and R&D management experience) knowledge embedded in the people and processes of the HTNF (De Carolis and Deeds, 1999) – alliances can increase the risk of expropriation of the firm's own knowledge (Pisano, 1990 and Teece, 1986), potentially undermining the competitive position of new ventures. However, curbing potential expropriation through careful partner selection and the use of contracts can be costly and HTNFs may lack the experiences or resources to do so effectively (Lerner and Merges, 1998). HTNFs also lack the experience to manage the complexity of a large alliance portfolio and may not have the time, skills or resources to monitor their partners (Deeds and Hill, 1996). New firms are often short on the resources, staff and expertise needed to monitor their established partners and safeguard against their potential opportunism. The earlier discussion raises a question: How can HTNFs use alliances more productively and mitigate the risks of strategic alliances? In this paper, we address this question by drawing on the capabilities perspective (Teece, 1986 and Das and Teng, 2000) and the literature on absorptive capacity (Cohen and Levinthal, 1990 and Zahra and George, 2002) to propose that the specialization of HTNFs' internal technological capabilities can significantly mitigate potential alliance benefits and risks. These capabilities denote a firm's “ability to produce a component according to the required specification and schedule” (Hoetker, 2005: 78). Such capabilities influence HTNFs' market success and define its competitive advantage (Kogut and Zander, 1992 and Martin and Salomon, 2003). We propose that HTNFs can creatively exploit their technological capabilities to mitigate the risks of alliances while gaining the knowledge required for NPD. Specifically, the degree of specialization of a new firm's technological capabilities serves as a key organizational contingency that influences the impact of strategic alliances on NPD. To develop this argument, we distinguish between types of alliances (e.g., Rothaermel and Deeds, 2006) to understand the differential effects of the specialization of a firm's own technological capabilities on the benefits it gains while mitigating the risks of alliances. Given that different alliances can give new firms different capabilities, we separate vertical upstream from downstream alliances that are completed vertically vs. horizontally (Baum et al., 2000 and Higgins and Gulati, 2006). Making this distinction allows us to assess the interdependencies between a firm's technological capability specialization and the different types of alliances the firm enters to promote NPD. Appreciating these effects can help HTNFs avoid unsuccessful alliances that can lower their performance and threaten their survival (Alvarez and Barney, 2001). To test our argument, we use a unique survey dataset on 199 biotechnology firms' alliance activities, their set of technological capabilities, and NPD. In doing so, we contribute to the literature in three key ways. First, we introduce the degree of specialization of an HTNF's technological capabilities as an organizational contingency that influences the potential impact of strategic alliances on firm performance, specifically NPD. Prior research on new firm alliances has focused on alliance experience (Hoang and Rothaermel, 2005 and Rothaermel and Deeds, 2006) and slack resources (Lerner et al., 2003) to explain variance in the benefits high technology firms gain from alliances. Second, the bulk of the literature has emphasized the benefits associated with alliances, but with few exceptions (e.g., Baum et al., 2000) researchers have rarely analyzed the negative consequences of alliances for the firms involved (Gulati, 1998). In this study, we show that entering into a new alliance can depress NPD and this effect is contingent on the composition of the firm's internal technological capabilities. Consequently, HTNFs stand to gain from joining alliances by carefully exploiting their own technological capabilities to mitigate the risks involved. Third, many existing studies on HTNFs' alliances have failed to distinguish between the types of alliances (Rothaermel and Deeds, 2006). Our distinction among upstream, horizontal, and downstream alliances enables us to assess the differential effects of the level of specialization of internal technological capabilities on maximizing the upside potential and mitigating the risks of each type of alliance for the new firms' NPD. In the next section, we develop our theory and hypotheses. We then describe our sample and summarize the analysis and results. After discussing key findings we recognize the study's limitations, identify promising avenues for future research, and present our conclusion.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
New firms in high technology industries have used alliances to gain the knowledge and other resources necessary for successful NPD. Despite their benefits, alliances pose significant risks for HTNFs. This study draws on the capabilities perspective of alliance formation and a survey of 199 biotechnology firms from Germany and the UK to investigate how alliance patterns influence NPD. We find that the specialization of new firms' technological capabilities can help managers use alliances more productively when it comes to NPD. Our results are stable over a variety of different model specifications and when we account for the endogeneity of alliances. The analyses reveal differential effects for upstream, horizontal, and downstream alliances. For those alliances where the acquisition and generation of knowledge is a key goal for HTNFs (i.e., upstream and horizontal), specialized technological capabilities appear to be a prerequisite for developing the absorptive capacity needed to capture and commercially exploit this knowledge. Even if a partner's knowledge is not related to the HTNFs' knowledge domain, its specialized capabilities might be beneficial in using these alliances because they help in gaining a reputation in a particular knowledge domain and as a result better upstream partners. They also protect a firm's knowledge from expropriation by partners in the “co-opetition” scenario of horizontal alliances. When access to capabilities downstream of the value chain is the main driver of alliance formation, a broader set of technological capabilities can increase HTNFs' bargaining power and gains in NPD. The findings help to clarify the role of new firms' technological capabilities in determining the potential benefits and risks associated with strategic alliances especially when it comes to NPD, a source of competitive advantage.