Title: Network position of a firm and the tendency to collaborate with competitors – a structural embeddedness perspective

Authors: Paavo Ritala; Jukka Hallikas

Addresses: School of Business, Lappeenranta University of Technology, P.O. Box 20, FI-53851, Lappeenranta, Finland. ' School of Business, Lappeenranta University of Technology, P.O. Box 20, FI-53851, Lappeenranta, Finland

Abstract: Collaboration between competing firms (coopetition) is increasingly important for firms operating in knowledge-intensive business sectors. There are, however, firm-specific differences in the tendency to form such relationships. In order to address the issue, this study explores why certain firms in the global ICT sector are better able and more likely to collaborate with their competitors than others. We approach the issue from the structural embeddedness perspective, examining firm centrality in its competitive and alliance networks. The findings indicate that firms with a central position in competitor networks are relatively more likely to engage in coopetition than those not so centrally placed. On the other hand, the findings show that firms holding a central position in their alliance networks collaborate relatively more with complementary partners than with their competitors.

Keywords: strategic alliances; competition; coopetition; global ICT sector; alliance networks; competitor networks; cognitive categorisation; rivalry; structural embeddedness; centrality; network position; collaboration; knowledge-intensive firms.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSBA.2011.044859

International Journal of Strategic Business Alliances, 2011 Vol.2 No.4, pp.307 - 328

Available online: 12 Jan 2012 *

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