In This Article Alliance Portfolios

  • Introduction
  • Journals
  • Reviews on Alliance Portfolios
  • Alliance Portfolios and Firm Performance Linkage
  • Alliance Portfolios and Knowledge-Related Factors
  • Do SMEs and Young Firms Benefit from Alliance Portfolios?

Management Alliance Portfolios
by
Pek-Hooi Soh, Annapoornima M. Subramanian
  • LAST MODIFIED: 26 November 2019
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199846740-0185

Introduction

The field of alliance portfolio research has grown significantly since 2007, and much research has focused on the impact of alliance portfolios on firm performance. An alliance portfolio is a collection of alliances established by a firm with different partners over a certain number of years. The term has also been referred to as a network of direct ties or bilateral relationships of the firm. In management research, some researchers use the term to account for all alliances that remain actively involved in focal firm’s business when assessing the competitive positioning of the firm in an industry, whereas others include both existing and past alliances when focal firm’s alliance experience and capability development is concerned. In strategic management and innovation studies, scholars have investigated alliance portfolios that are typically made up of a variety of strategic partners who may possess specialized knowledge, capabilities, and other valuable resources required by focal firms. Thus, there exist variations in how alliance portfolios are defined in academic studies, especially depending on the research disciplines and the objectives of alliance formation in a particular industry context. Furthermore, management scholars have argued that a portfolio-level approach toward investigating the performance impact of strategic alliances is more appropriate than a dyadic view. The prime reason is that management cannot ignore the interdependence that exists between alliance activities, the trade-offs in resource allocation and the synergies that arise from across the alliance projects. Alliance portfolios will likely offer a larger scope of opportunities for new combinations than individual bilateral alliances do. In understanding the relationship between alliance portfolios and firm performance, scholarly works have branched into these broad research inquiries: (i) the configuration of alliance portfolios, (ii) the management of alliance portfolios, and (iii) the role of alliance portfolios from a knowledge-based view. More recently, a new theme has emerged to study whether and how small and young ventures benefit from alliance portfolios. Above all, across these lines of alliance portfolios research inquiry, growing attention has been drawn to the antecedents and consequence of learning and value creation among portfolio partners, which would predict a firm’s performance in profitability, innovation, and new business development.

Journals

Research on alliance portfolios is mainly published as journal articles. Until 2006, only one article on alliance portfolios was published every year. Nevertheless, the number of journal publications on alliance portfolios witnessed an exponential growth since 2007, with the record high of twenty-two articles published in 2017. The following journals are the leading sources of references for reviews, theory development and empirical research in the field of alliance portfolios. The top eight highly cited publications on alliance portfolios belong to following journals: Strategic Management Journal, Organization Science, Journal of Management, Journal of Marketing, Journal of Product Innovation Management, Research Policy, Long Range Planning, and Technovation.

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