Title: Plural forms of governance for international strategic alliances: toward an integrative framework

Authors: Tao Gao

Addresses: Manning School of Business, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, MA 01854, USA

Abstract: Many international strategic alliances (ISAs) are characterised by plural forms of governance whereby individual, generic alliance arrangements such as equity investment, licensing, management contracts, and supply agreements coexist. Yet, most existing research on ISA governance decisions either deals with the choice of alliances against market transactions or hierarchy or studies the choice of one mode of alliance against another (such as equity versus non-equity alliances). Very limited insight is available on multinational companies' simultaneous inclusions of several, rather than only one, generic modes of alliance to establish plural ISAs for their international operations. In this paper, we tackle the issue of plural alliances in the context of selecting forms of governance for international strategic alliances. Drawing from diverse theories on interorganisational relationships, transaction cost theory, competitive strategy, organisational learning, relationship marketing, and foreign market entry modes; this paper develops an integrative conceptual model that guides company decisions on choosing plural governance forms for international strategic alliances. Research and managerial implications of the study are discussed.

Keywords: international strategic alliances; ISAs; foreign market entry modes; governance form; plural governance form; equity investment; licensing; trust; control; bargaining power; dependence.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBG.2021.111958

International Journal of Business and Globalisation, 2021 Vol.27 No.1, pp.32 - 50

Received: 15 Aug 2018
Accepted: 05 Nov 2018

Published online: 22 Dec 2020 *

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