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


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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Appendix C: Guiding Questions for the Expert-Interviews 207


Appendix C: Guiding Questions for the Expert-Interviews A) General information about the firm 1. At what sub-sector of the industry does your company operate? 2. How is the ownership structure of your company (e.g. a wholly indigenous or for- eign)? 3. How many employees does your company have? 4. How much is the annual turnover? B) General information on the collaborative arrangement 1. What type of collaboration does your company have with its partner? 2. What is the role of your company in the collaborative relationship? 3. What is the role of your partner in the collaborative relationship? 4. i.) When did the collaborative relationship begin? ii.) How long did it last? 5. How relevant is the issue of knowledge or technology transfer in the collaborative relationship with your partner? Was it an important motive for the cooperation? C) Learning Intent 1. When deciding to enter into the collaborative relationship, did your company have a strong desire, determination and will to learn about a particular technology, proc- ess or skill possessed by your partner? 2. Does your company have defined learning objectives or targets, communicated to your employees involved in the operations of the collaboration? 3. Does your company have a separate alliance function (i.e. separate department in charge of collaboration with your partner)? What is exactly its task and structure? D) Learning Capacity 1. How would you assess your company’s capacity to learn from its partner or through the collaboration, in terms of: i) the number and quality of...

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