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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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Part III: Empirical Study & Results 111

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Part III: Empirical Study & Results 5 Research Strategy and Methodology This chapter presents the strategy and methodical procedures of the empirical study in three sub-chapters. The sub-chapter 5.1 briefly recapitulates the focus of the empirical study and the research strategy. Under research design in sub- chapter 5.2, the methodological basis of the study is discussed; while the process of data collection, evaluation and analysis is discussed under research method in sub-chapter 5.3. 5.1 Research Strategy In the pursuit of the central objective of this work, which is to identify the pat- tern of inter-partner learning in the foreign-indigenous alliances in the Nigerian oil industry, the empirical study is focused primarily on examining the “learning intent” and “learning capacity” of the alliance partners as well as the “types of knowledge” sought and acquired by the partner companies in the alliances. Although many conceptual and empirical studies have been conducted on inter-partner learning in alliances in general and a few but growing number of these studies has been focused on international alliances in the emerging and transition countries of China, South-East Asia and East-Europe, no study exists hitherto on the pattern of inter-partner learning in international alliances in a less developed country such as Nigeria and particularly with regard to the foreign- indigenous alliances in the Nigerian oil industry. Therefore, following this dearth of literature in the context of Nigeria and less developed countries (LDCs), the empirical study is designed as an “exploratory study” and the re- search strategy focuses on using...

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