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Inter-Partner Learning in Asymmetric Alliances between Foreign and Indigenous Companies in the Nigerian Oil Industry

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Okechukwu Okonkwo

The emergence and growing trend of inter-firm alliances between indigenous oil companies and foreign international oil companies in the Nigerian oil industry has elicited widespread expectations of inter-partner learning and knowledge transfer through the alliances in the industry. However, the asymmetric nature of these foreign-indigenous alliances has also raised the question as to «whether or not» and «how» learning and knowledge transfer takes place in these alliances. Through explorative case study research, this work examines the learning intents and learning capacities of partner companies in selected cases of alliances as well as the types of knowledge they acquired through the alliances. The major objective is to identify the pattern of inter-partner learning and the factors affecting learning in such asymmetric alliances. Based on the empirical findings, relevant recommendations are provided for the managerial practice in the industry and the implications for research are highlighted.

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List of Figures XI

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XI List of Figures Figure 1—1: Asymmetries in the Foreign-Indigenous Alliances ...................... 6 Figure 1—2: The Research Objectives ............................................................ 12 Figure 2—1: Segments of the Nigerian oil industry ........................................ 20 Figure 2—2: Key Players in the Upstream Segment ....................................... 42 Figure 2—3: Patterns of Foreign-Indigenous Alliances in the Upstream Segment ............................................................ 59 Figure 5—1: The Case Selection Criteria and Process .................................. 117 Figure 5—2: Components of Data Analysis based on “Interactive Model”.. 123 Figure 6—1: Determinants of Cooperative-Asymmetrical Learning ............ 182 List of Tables Table 2—1: NAIPEC’s Member-Companies and their Foreign Partners ...... 60 Table 6—1: Synoptic Overview of the Four Cases ...................................... 126 Table 6—2: List of Interviewees in the Partner Companies......................... 127 Table 6—3: Synoptic Overview of the Findings .......................................... 172

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