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Developing Alliance Capabilities - An Empirical Study

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Printed in titel page: Please do not circulate or cite without permission ; This paper assesses the differential performance effects of learning mechanisms on the development of alliance capabilities. Prior research has suggested that different capability levels could be identified in which specific intra-firm learning mechanisms are used to enhance a firm’s alliance capability. However, empirical testing in this field is scarce and little is known as to what extent different learning mechanisms are indeed useful in advancing a firm’s alliance capability. This paper analyzes to what extent intra-firm learning mechanisms help firms develop their alliance capability. Differential learning may explain in what way firms yield superior returns from their alliances in comparison to competitors. The empirical results show that different learning mechanisms have different performance effects at different stages of the alliance capability development process. The main lesson from this paper is that firms can steer the creation and speed of their alliance capability development as different learning mechanisms have differential performance effects and are more appropriate at different levels of alliance capability.Key words: learning mechanisms, alliance capabilities and competitive heterogeneity.JEL classification: L14

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Koen H. Heimeriks, Geert Duysters, Wim Vanhaverbeke

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