Title: The absorptive capacity as a key success factor in international strategic alliances: a study of Tunisian firms

Authors: Fadoua Hamdani; Lazhar Ayed; Bronwyn Wood Aisha Boulanouar

Addresses: Department of Management, School of Business, Sfax University, Tunisia ' College of Business, Umm Al Qura University, KSA; Department of Marketing, School of Business, Sfax University, Tunisia ' Marketing Department at Sultan Qaboos University, Waikato, New Zealand

Abstract: International strategic alliances (ISAs) are an engine of corporate business development in Tunisia. This research - in accordance with the knowledge-based view - seeks to identify the role of absorptive capacity as a key success factor. In a two-step process, qualitative research was first conducted to centre the research on the characteristics of the Tunisian context. This was followed by quantitative research using a SEM method with data collected from 119 Tunisian firms allied with foreign firms. Results show that alliance experience, and access to the knowledge of the ally, are the most important factors denoting absorptive capacity in this context. Companies engaged in ISAs, with much technological diversity, need to stimulate interest in research and development (R&D) to improve the abilities of their employees and keep them motivated. This leads to an internalisation of knowledge transfer which stimulates business development and leads to successful alliances in terms of effectivness and innovation.

Keywords: international strategic alliances; ISAs; absorptive capacity; strategic alliance success; learning.

DOI: 10.1504/JIBED..10001487

Journal for International Business and Entrepreneurship Development, 2017 Vol.10 No.2, pp.138 - 155

Received: 25 Apr 2016
Accepted: 06 Jul 2016

Published online: 18 May 2017 *

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