Inter-Partner Learning in Asymmetric Alliances between Foreign and Indigenous Companies in the Nigerian Oil Industry
Part II: Theoretical Background 67
Part II: Theoretical Background 3 Theoretical Explanations of Alliances This chapter presents the theoretical explanations of inter-firm alliances, focus- ing mainly on issues regarding to the forms and motives of inter-firm alliances. It begins with the delimitation and discussion of the forms and dimensions of inter-firm alliances in sub-chapter 3.1. Subsequently, the motives of alliances as explained by different theoretical perspectives are discussed in sub-chapter 3.2, while the summary of the discussions is presented in sub-chapter 3.3. 3.1 Forms and Dimensions of Alliances 3.1.1 Forms of Alliances The definition of alliances is still incoherent in the literature considering the var- ied terms used by scholars to refer to the same phenomenon. Some authors use the term “alliance”, while others prefer such terms like “cooperation”, “partner- ship” or “collaboration” to refer to collaborative form of coordination of eco- nomic activities (cf. Morschett, 2005: p. 379; and the references therein). How- ever, despite this variety of terms, most definitions in the literature are unani- mous in three essential aspects pertaining to inter-firm alliances, namely; (1.) the alliance partners are legally and economically (partly) independent, (2.) the partners voluntarily restrict their decision autonomies in certain areas of opera- tion in order to pursue goals which could be better achieved jointly than sepa- rately, and (3.) the partners explicitly (oral or written) commit themselves to the joint coordination and execution of tasks on a short-term or long-term basis (cf. Prange, 1999: pp. 160-161; Tsang, 1999: p. 212; Schwerk, 2000: p. 28; Grun- wald, 2003:...
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