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Exhibition reservation. Third, our operationalization of partner diversity overlooks features of the alliance portfolio that may influence the efficacy of coordination and learning capabilities to create value e. Some of these nuances could be incorporated in future analyses. Fourth, the sample size is small with firms located in just five clusters of only one country.

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Larger multi-country samples should be collected in order to confirm our findings. Finally, we focus on only one industry.

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Biotechnology is a science-based and knowledge-intensive industry where alliances are especially relevant, with a majority of small young firms characterized by long times-to-market. Consequently, we recommend caution in generalizing our results to other contexts.

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ISSN: More article options. A contingency view of alliance management capabilities for innovation in the biotech industry. Download PDF. Corresponding author.

Strategic Alliances as Social Facts: Business, Biotechnology, and Intellectual History

Pablo de Olavide University, Carretera Utrera, km. This item has received. Under a Creative Commons license. Received 16 July Accepted 10 January Show more Show less. Table 1. Table 6. These results also have useful implications for managers involved in alliances for innovation, who can direct the organizational efforts towards the most effective alliance capabilities, depending on the features of their alliance portfolio.

Alliance management capabilities. JEL classification:. Introduction Managing cooperation for innovation is a complex process, with a varied number of challenges and drawbacks: different cultures and routines, diverging views and interests, appropriation issues, and lack of adaptability and knowledge spillovers, among many others Antolin-Lopez et al. As a consequence, and having demonstrated the benefits of interfirm cooperation, researchers have become increasingly interested in understanding how management capabilities may improve the alliances performance. In other words, it refers to a firm's ability to effectively manage multiple alliances.

This is what Duysters and Lokshin call the complexity of the alliance portfolio, which places a burden upon managing the portfolio skilfully; thus the more the diversity, the more the management attention that will be needed. This paper is structured as follows: first, we explain the theoretical background on alliance management capabilities, and partner and geographic diversity, which will lead to the formulation of our hypotheses; second, we describe our empirical research and results; and finally, we present the main conclusions of our study.

Alliance portfolio coordination capabilities Draulans et al. Based on this argument, we propose our first hypothesis: H1 Alliance portfolio coordination capabilities have a positive effect on alliance portfolio performance. Interorganizational learning capabilities One of the main reasons why firms participate in alliances is to learn or absorb the know-how, skills and capabilities from their partners Hamel, ; Khanna et al.

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Schilke and Goerzen also highlight that interorganizational learning capabilities represent a key advantage in alliances and have a positive impact on the amount of resources obtained from them. Based on the statements above, we propose the following hypothesis: H2 Interorganizational learning capabilities in alliances have a positive effect on alliance portfolio performance. A contingency view of alliance management capabilities Within the innovation literature, there is a line of research focused on identifying the contingencies under which alliance portfolios can increase or decrease innovative performance Gomes et al.

Having diverse types of partners from diverse geographic settings represents a great challenge to effectively manage the network of relationships and the transference of valuable knowledge among them. In the following sections, we explore how the relationship between alliance management capabilities portfolio coordination and interorganizational learning depends on both partner and geographic diversity. The moderating role of partner diversity Partner diversity refers to the degree of heterogeneity in the types of partners with which a firm allies, including suppliers and customers, as well as other firms and organizations within the same industry Oerlemans and Knoben, ; Terjesen et al.

That is, the learning capabilities of the firm will have an impact on the performance of the alliance when partner diversity is relatively high. Based on the above-mentioned literature, we propose the following hypotheses: H3a The relationship between alliance portfolio coordination capabilities and alliance portfolio performance will be moderated by partner diversity, so that the relationship will be positive when partner diversity is high.

H3b The relationship between interorganizational learning capabilities and alliance portfolio performance will be moderated by partner diversity, so that the relationship will be positive when partner diversity is high. The moderating role of geographic diversity Geographic diversity refers to the degree to which a firm's alliance partners are located in geographically diverse settings Terjesen et al.

On the contrary, when partners are located in the same region and the firm is exposed to redundant knowledge, the opportunities for learning are reduced and, consequently, the impact of learning capabilities on the performance of the alliance is weakened. Based on the statements above, we propose the following hypotheses: H4a The relationship between alliance portfolio coordination capabilities and alliance portfolio performance will be moderated by geographic diversity, so that the relationship will be positive when geographic diversity is high.

H4b The relationship between interorganizational learning capabilities and alliance portfolio performance will be moderated by geographic diversity, so that the relationship will be positive when geographic diversity is high. Theoretical model. Figure 1. Main figures of biotech clusters. Table 2. Sample of companies.


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  • Firms can have more than one field of biotech activity. Alliances can be composed from 1 to 5 types of partners. Table 3. Exploratory factor analysis and Cronbach's alpha. Table 4. Table 5. Hierarchical regression on alliance portfolio performance. Standard errors in parentheses. Interaction plot for the moderating effect of partner diversity on the relationship between alliance portfolio coordination and alliance portfolio performance. Figure 2.

    Interaction plot for the moderating effect of partner diversity on the relationship between interorganizational learning in alliances and alliance portfolio performance. Figure 3. Interaction plot for the moderating effect of geographic diversity on the relationship between alliance portfolio coordination and alliance portfolio performance. Figure 4. Interaction plot for the moderating effect of the geographic diversity on the relationship between interorganizational learning in alliances and alliance portfolio performance. Figure 5.