Alliance Portfolio Diversity and Firm Performance
Strategic Management Journal, Vol. 31, pp. 1136-1144, 2010
9 Pages Posted: 4 May 2011
Date Written: June 17, 2010
In this paper, we offer a comprehensive alliance portfolio diversity construct that includes partner, functional, and governance diversity. Grounding our work primarily with the resource and dynamic capabilities-based views, we argue that increased diversity in partners’ industry, organizational, and national background will incur added complexity and coordination costs but will provide broadened resource and learning benefits. Increased functional diversity results in a more balanced portfolio of exploration and exploitation activities that expands the firm’s knowledge base while increased governance diversity inhibits learning and routine building. Hypotheses were tested with alliance portfolio and performance data for 138 multinational firms in the global automobile industry during the twenty-year period from 1985 to 2005. We found alliance portfolios with greater organizational and functional diversity and lower governance diversity were related to higher firm performance while industry diversity had a U-shaped relationship with firm performance. We suggest firms manage their alliances with a portfolio perspective, seeking to maximize resource and learning benefits by collaborating with a variety of organizations in various value chain activities while minimizing managerial costs through a focused set of governance structures.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation