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Understanding a strategic alliance

Donnellan, Emma (1995) Understanding a strategic alliance. Master of Business Studies thesis, Dublin City University.

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Abstract

The purpose of this stud y is to examine strategic alliances between large, established and small, evolving firms, in the software industry in Ireland. The core objectives are to develop an understanding for why cooperative agreements between large and small firms are initiated; and how such relationships are initiated, implemented an d developed over time. Until recently, strategic alliances were exceptions to normal operations since they were formed on an adhoc basis to deal with specific situations generally linked to product access and market control. Due to the significant changes occurring in the business environment, the focus on strategic alliances has moved to appoint where they are becoming the rule rather than the exception. A strategic alliance has been defined as a linkage between companies to jointly pursue a common goal - a collaborative agreement which may be viewed as an intermediate position along a spectrum of inter-firm dealings, encompassing arms-length transactions at one end and full mergers at the other. This study rejects the notion of theory verification, whereby one would develop objectives, deduce hypotheses which are thus subjected to some form of empirical testing. Instead, it has concentrated its efforts on the discovery of concepts which lead to theory on the development and implementation of strategic alliances between small and large companies in the computer industry. Since there exists a relatively thin theoretical base concerning cooperative agreements between large and small companies in the literature, a core objective of this study was to integrate a number of phenomen a which has been observed in practice by managers. The result of this is a descriptive model of a complex system of inter-related issues which determine the development of cooperative relationships between large, established and small, evolving firms. Chapter One explores the concepts and theories developed by previous authors concerning aspects of strategic alliances. The chapter commences with an examination of factors which have forced change into the environments of most organisations. This is followed with the search for a definition of an alliance and a review of the different aspects of the strategic alliance. The chapter is completed with particular emphasis on alliances between large and small firms. In the Second Chapter, a strategic review of the software industry in Ireland is developed. It examines the industry b y dividing company types into two subsections - indigenous and foreign-owned. Forces of change which influence the ind u stry are examined and key trends are identified. A discussion on strategic alliances in the industry completes this chapter. The Third Chapter examines the changing perspectives of marketing research methodology over the years. It debates the scientific nature of marketing and thus, marketing research. It explores areas of ethnography and phenomenology and proffers the notion of the case study as a legitimate research tool. Chapter Four presents the research design where core objectives are discussed and propositions are developed. The choice of the case study is justified and advantages and limitations of the chosen methodology are discussed. The process of data collection and analysis are described. In Chapter Five the case history is presented which is based on information gathered over a one year time period. It commences with some background on Dascom - the Irish software company under investigation - which is followed by some background market information. Relationship agreements are then outlined an d the different decisions and behaviours associated with strategic alliances are documented. The chapter concludes with the situation, as it stands, at the present time. The Sixth Chapter presents an analysis of the case using cause mapping to analyse the streams of decisions an d behaviour occurring through the phases of initiation, implementation and development of strategic alliances. In Chapter Seven the author develops a theoretical model, based on the causal map presented in the previous chapter. An explanation is offered an d the key research objectives and propositions addressed. Based on the model developed and the conclusions derived, a number of m an ag erial implications are deducted. Finally, further research recommendations are proposed

Item Type:Thesis (Master of Business Studies)
Date of Award:1995
Refereed:No
Supervisor(s):O'Driscoll, Aidan
Uncontrolled Keywords:Software industry; Strategic alliances; Cooperative agreements; Large firms; SMEs
Subjects:Business > Management
DCU Faculties and Centres:DCU Faculties and Schools > DCU Business School
Use License:This item is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License. View License
ID Code:19551
Deposited On:17 Oct 2013 11:59 by Celine Campbell. Last Modified 17 Oct 2013 11:59

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