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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 IV: Concluding Section 183

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Part IV: Concluding Section 7 Implications for Managerial Practice The genesis of the empirical study in this work was the increasing trend of asymmetric alliances between privately-owned indigenous oil companies and foreign international oil companies in the Nigerian oil industry and the general expectations of learning and knowledge/technology transfer through the alli- ances, which raised the question of “whether or not” and “how” learning and knowledge transfer actually take place in the alliances. The major objective set out at the beginning of this work was to identify the pattern of inter-partner lear- ning in these alliances and provide practice-relevant recommendations for the managerial practice in the industry. Based on the general analysis in this work, it is very obvious that the asym- metric foreign-indigenous alliances in the Nigerian oil industry like other alli- ances offer opportunities of learning for the alliance partners and that the part- ners’ learning intent and learning capacity are the primary key factors that de- termine learning success in the alliances. However, the findings from the em- pirical case-study in this work suggest clearly that the pattern of learning in the asymmetric foreign-indigenous alliances in the Nigerian oil industry is such that only the indigenous partners possessed learning intent and deployed learning capacity to acquire knowledge from their foreign partners through the alliances, and that the extent of their learning success depended primarily on the degrees of their learning intents and learning capacity in the alliances. Strong learning intent and learning capacity in the alliances led...

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