R & D Alliance Theory

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2.1 R&D Alliances and Knowledge Transfer
A large body of research has discussed the role of R&D alliances in learning and knowledge transfer among organizations (Chen, 2004; Easterby-Smith et al., 2008). R&D alliances are voluntary agreements between or among organizations that involve the sharing and exchange of resources, expertise and technologies for the purpose of developing new or improved products, processes and technologies (Gulati, 1998; Inkpen, 2000). Participation in such agreements has consistently been related with an increase in firm innovative performance (Van Wijk et al., 2008). Empirical studies have shown that the degree of interorganizational learning is significantly influenced by the characteristics
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Gnyawali & Park, 2011; Hamel, 1991). We build upon two related concepts to explain the dynamics of this phenomenon: the value creation and appropriation literature and the idea of learning…show more content…
Because R&D alliances are often temporal, firms aim to learn from their alliance partners as much and quickly as possible. Hamel (1991) describes how managers perceive R&D alliances not only as opportunities to jointly develop new products or technologies, but also as means to access and acquire a partner's exclusive knowledge. This leads to tensions among collaboration partners. First, managers may pursue hidden agendas with goals and objectives that conflict with the interests of alliance partners (Hamel, 1991). Second, managers may divert resources and attention within R&D alliance to increase learning from alliance partners or to reduce learning by alliance partners (Khanna et al., 1998). Learning races reveal that asymmetric knowledge transfer can occur via intended and unintended knowledge spillovers. Initially, imbalanced learning can simply happen when alliance partners have different learning rates. But studies on learning races also hint to mechanisms firms can use to tip the scales into their favor, namely capabilities and resources that stimulate knowledge absorption and reduce knowledge
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