Title: Local strategic networks in the software industry: an empirical analysis of the value continuum

Authors: Michael Hock, Christian M. Ringle

Addresses: Faculty of Business Administration, TU Bergakademie Freiberg, Lessingstrase 45, Freiberg 09599, Germany. ' Department of Business and Economics, University of Hamburg, Von-Melle-Park 5, Hamburg 20146, Germany; Centre for Management and Organisation Studies (CMOS), University of Technology Sydney (UTS), 1-59 Quay Street, Haymarket, NSW 2001, Australia

Abstract: This paper explores long-term partnership benefits of local strategic alliances in knowledge-intensive industries. A structural model of the value continuum is formulated and tested on small and mid-size enterprises in the software industry. Partial least squares path analysis is used to investigate the cause–effect relationships between the foundation values – efficiency and effectiveness – and the innovation value. The results show that the innovation value of localised inter-firm networks originates from costs savings and quality improvements. Conversely, alliance-induced |speed| benefits (measured by the R&D process|s acceleration), which improve flexibility and/or shorten delivery time, have no significant impact on market-based performance. An alliance|s time-related benefits may be important to maintain competitive parity, but they do not significantly support competitive advantage, market development and market penetration. Instead, value is created via, for example, an exchange of tacit knowledge and a reduction in transaction costs, and particularly by a reduction in customer service costs.

Keywords: local strategic alliances; local alliances; knowledge networks; value continuum; software industry; PLS path analysis; partial least squares; small and medium-sized enterprises; SMEs; innovation value; costs savings; quality improvement; tacit knowledge; knowledge transfer.

DOI: 10.1504/IJKMS.2010.030789

International Journal of Knowledge Management Studies, 2010 Vol.4 No.2, pp.132 - 151

Published online: 05 Jan 2010 *

Full-text access for editors Full-text access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article