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The partner selection process of alliances in the manufacturer-distributor marketing channel: a case approach

Laffan, Joanne (1996) The partner selection process of alliances in the manufacturer-distributor marketing channel: a case approach. Master of Business Studies thesis, Dublin City University.

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The past decade has seen an upsurge in the number of strategic alliances entered into by companies in the international business arena. Such alliances may offer opportunities to Irish companies who strive to increase their sales and expand into overseas markets. However, many of these alliances have ended in failure, often due to poor partner selection and management of the alliance. Despite the increase in research examining ways in which companies can improve their ability to ‘get it right’, there remains a considerable deficiency in the information available. In respect of literature relating Irish industry to the process for developing alliances there is a large gap to be filled. This research is an attempt to redress this deficiency. The author posits that in order to select a partner and form a strategic alliance, strategy development, partner assessment and negotiations will be undertaken. A partner selection process framework was developed to examine the partner selection and formation of a distribution alliance. Part of this process involves the selection of partner-related criteria to establish partner fit. Certain characteristics are posited as defining the ‘structure’ of alliance relationships (Achrol et al, 1990) and subsequently as being features of partnership success (Spekman and Sawbney, 1990). Specifically, this research seeks to ascertain the role played by factors such as; compatibility (Narus and Anderson, 1987; Lewis, 1990), commitment (Anderson and Weitz, 1992; Mohr and Spekman, 1994), communication (Salmond and Spekman, 1986), trust (Morgan and Hunt, 1994; Gulati, 1995), and conflict (Magrath and Hardy, 1989; Mohr and Spekman, 1994), in the successful selection and negotiation of an alliance partnership. The research was interested in examining how these variables can be nurtured in the pre-alliance state in order to form a relationship with the intended partner. A qualitative research approach was taken. This involved in-depth semi-structured interviews with an Irish company and a questionnaire which was administered to the overseas partner. Three distribution agreements were investigated, an Irish/German agreement, an Irish/Belgian agreement and a Spanish/Irish agreement. The descriptive case studies ensued from these. The evidence suggests that the partner selection process framework developed by the author is appropriate for use in the formation of a distribution alliance. Furthermore, the case study data revealed that the partner-related criteria should be defined and cultivated in the pre-alliance state. The partner-related criteria can be used to assess partner fit and establish a relationship which realises the joint objectives of the alliance parties.

Item Type:Thesis (Master of Business Studies)
Date of Award:1996
Supervisor(s):Gannon, Michael
Uncontrolled Keywords:Strategic alliances; Partner selection
Subjects:Business > Innovation
Business > Commerce
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:19565
Deposited On:18 Oct 2013 11:27 by Celine Campbell. Last Modified 18 Oct 2013 11:27

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