Can alliance networks work? : examining the evolution & impacts of alliance portfolios in healthcare
Niblett, Bradley Donald
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As the global competitive environment becomes increasingly complex and volatile, organisations look to networks to complement skills, resources, agility and capabilities. This research program aims to achieve a better understanding in the role of alliance portfolios in the development of dynamic capabilities of innovation and commercialisation. Through a case study approach examining the network of The Michener Institute for Applied Health Sciences, this research program uses a grounded-theory methodology to construct a conceptual framework, which is generalised to other healthcare firms’, alliance portfolios and potentially to other industries. The central assertion of this research program is that within complex and high-velocity environments, the character of a firms’ alliance portfolio facilitates the extent to which dynamic capabilities are created that result in new market opportunities, ultimately leading to competitive advantage. The results suggest that alliance portfolios develop dynamic capabilities (specifically, innovation and commercialisation) when comprised of individual alliance relationships that establish variables of trust; strategic fit of resources and vision; secure partners that operate within the same industrial sphere and/or core business as the hub-firm; and a personal commitment to the alliance. Further, those individual alliance relationships that experience variables including lofty expectations; fuzzy decision making processes; lack/loss of strategic focus; differences in corporate cultures; and poor transference/application of dynamic capabilities across different industries were unsuccessful in the development of dynamic capabilities. Initial results also suggest that the cumulative experience of the dedicated alliance function (Kale, Dyer, and Singh; 2002), and the resulting dynamic capabilities established therein, have the ability to transition (Arndt, 2008) to the alliance portfolio (Wassmer, 2010). The alliance portfolio not only acts as an egocentric catchment of an organisation’s respective alliances (Baum, 2000), but can also acts as a cumulative set of dynamic capabilities, resources, and opportunities.