Unravelling processes of alliance capability development: Longitudinal processual insights from an emerging country multinational enterprise


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore and unbundle the complex processes underpinning development of alliance capabilities, particularly in the context of emerging country multinational enterprises. More specifically, this paper focuses on how firms internalize and translate knowledge generated from experiences gained by participating in international collaborations. Design/methodology/approach: The authors adopt an exploratory case study approach to undertake in-depth processual analysis of alliance capability development in an Indian biopharmaceutical company. The authors focused their analysis on the initial four international alliances the company formed and identified key elements pertaining to alliance capabilities that the company internalized and those that it could not, as this was key in understanding alliance capability. Findings: The research shows that based on experiences from previous alliances, the Indian organization was able to overhaul its negotiation and governance designing processes and practices as well as made robust changes to its internal communication and coordination practices. Interestingly, the company organization, however, did not make any significant changes to its processes and practices regarding partner selection. Practical implications: The results from our study can be used by managers to develop processes and practices when it comes to developing alliance capabilities. Originality/value: The paper is novel, as it addresses two specific gaps in the nascent alliance capability literature. First, it provides insights on how different constituent elements/aspects of alliance capability actually develop and integrate within the organizational system over time, and in the process, the paper identifies that some aspects are better internalized as compared to other aspects. Second, by focusing the attention on an Indian biopharmaceutical company, the authors attempt to address a gap in alliance capability development research, which has been neglected in emerging country multinational entities

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