Title: Interpartner harmony in strategic alliances: managing commitment and forbearance

Authors: T.K. Das, Rajesh Kumar

Addresses: Department of Management, Zicklin School of Business, Baruch College, City University of New York, One Bernard Baruch Way, Box B9-240, New York, NY 10010, USA. ' Division of Strategy, Nottingham Business School, University of Nottingham, Jubilee Campus, Nottingham NG8 1BB, UK

Abstract: We propose a framework to understand interpartner harmony in strategic alliances. Interpartner harmony in strategic alliances denotes the mutual understanding that alliance members accomplish by managing commitment and forbearance in the context of their interdependence. We proceed from the notion that the pervasive conflict-based view of alliances has clouded the consideration of the quest for harmony as a significant factor in alliance dynamics. We believe that alliances have an inbuilt resilience that makes the emergence of harmony a natural outcome, through the joint exercise of commitment and forbearance, even as conflict and opportunism persist as inevitable challenges. We describe the four kinds of interpartner harmony in alliances – superficial, specious, constrained and communal – based on the degrees of commitment and forbearance. We also discuss the salience of each of these interpartner harmony types in the three principal types of alliances (equity joint ventures, minority equity alliances and nonequity alliances). Implications of the analysis are discussed for further research as well as managerial practice.

Keywords: strategic alliances; interpartner harmony; commitment; forbearance; alliance dynamics; equity joint ventures; minority equity alliances; nonequity alliances.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSBA.2009.023650

International Journal of Strategic Business Alliances, 2009 Vol.1 No.1, pp.24 - 52

Published online: 06 Mar 2009 *

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