Editors: Farok J. Contractor and Jeffrey J. Reuer
Publisher:  Cambridge University Press – 490 pages
Book Review by: Sonu Chandiram

We have all heard the saying “two heads are better than one.” Using the same principle of combing the experience, expertise, ideas, knowledge, skills and talents that individuals use to achieve results that can be far greater than the combined outcomes of two individuals, companies have also begun forming alliances to achieve revenues and earnings that are much bigger than the sum of two firms’ financial results.

Every way of doing things for greater outcomes has its plusses and minuses, and strategic alliances between two companies or among a group of them are subject to successes and failures as well. The authors and editors of this work discuss the Do’s and Don’ts about strategic alliances so that you the student of strategies in organizations can avoid the pitfalls they have encountered and learned from. What better way to avoid losing money than to learn from their mistakes and experiences?

Seventy-three specialists in “negotiating, structuring, and governing partnerships” (as the subtitle of this book states) including the editors named above, from all over the United States and 16 other countries – Austria, Belgium, China, Costa Rica, Ecuador, France, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, and the United Kingdom –  authored the chapter of this book listed below:

  1. Part I – Theory and Future Directions in Alliance Research
  2. Frontiers of Alliance Research
  3. Understanding Contracting Behavior: The Role of Power
  4. Rationality in Theoretical Modeling of Collaborative Ventures
  5. The Transaction Cost Theory of Equity Joint Ventures
  6. Using Alliances to Test Core Theories of Strategic and  international Management
  7. Part II – Alliances in the Context of Rapid Technological Change and Disruptions
  8. Responding to Digital Disruption Through Alliances
  9. Performance Differences of Jointly Owned Firms in the US Electronics Sector
  10. Part III – Micro-foundational Processes and Coordination Between Partners
  11. Learning to Coordinate in Alliances
  12. Social Psychological Foundations of Alliance Cooperation: The Role of Identity and Identification in Shared Alliance Interest
  13. A Multilevel Framework of Alliance Management: The Paradox of Coopetition
  14. Part IV – Alliance Management Capability
  15. The Evolution of Alliance Capability in Large Organizations: The Case of Alliance Management
  16. Strategic Animation in Global Professional Services: A Case for Virtual Integration Processes in Network Organizations
  17. The Organizational Design of the Alliance Management System: A Contingency View
  18. Part V – Alliance Scope
  19. Alliance Scope: Theoretical and Empirical Perspectives
  20. The Effect of Alliance Scope in Knowledge Flows
  21. Part VI – Alliance Portfolios and Multilateral Alliances
  22. Technology Alliance Portfolios and Radical Innovation: The Role of Different Alliance Portfolio Information Processing Mechanisms
  23. Multilateral Alliances: A Review and Research Agenda
  24. Part VII – Multimarket Competition and Multinational Alliances
  25. Multimarket Competition and Alliance Formation
  26. Profitability of Joint Ventures Abroad : Explaining a New Empirical Puzzle
  27. Think Globally, Act Cooperatively : Entrepreneurial Partnering Between INVs, MNEs
  28. Part VIII – Innovation Networks and Alliances
  29. Increasing Knowledge Complexity and Informal Networks in the Information Age
  30. Characteristics of Innovation-Driven Interim Alliances, 1957-2006: Analysis and Research Directions
  31. Part IX – Fostering Trust and the Impact of Culture
  32. The Double-Edged Sword of High Expectations: Presumptive Trust, Reflective Trust, and Satisfaction in International Joint Ventures
  33. Culture and Cross-Border Alliances: Unholy Matrimony
  34. Part X – The Evolution, Survival, and Termination of Alliances
  35. Should I Stay or Should I Go Now? Integrating the Learning and Selecting Views on Firms’ Successive Make-or-Ally Decisions for Product Innovation
  36. Surviving Alliance Network Evolution During Industry Convergence: Observations and Future Research Directions
  37. XI – Future Public-Private Partnerships
  38. Pay to Play: Connecting University Research Funding to Licensing outcomes
  39. Multiple Partners in Public-Private Collaborations: Beyond the Dyadic Forms of Cooperation

This book is not only useful to those who have  formed or are forming alliances with companies in the same country, but also with companies in other countries. While much more nuanced knowledge is needed in order to achieve success with an overseas partner (such as learning their culture and norms), this book provides the basic tools for smoother business relationships.



Farok J. Contractor is a Distinguished Professor at Rutgers Business School in New Jersey.

Jeffrey J. Reuer holds the Guggenheim Endowed Chair and is a Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at the University of Colorado in Boulder.