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Essay on the internal dynamics of an R&D alliance

What determines the individuals' contribution to the alliance?
PhD ceremony:Mr X. Wang
When:July 02, 2015
Supervisor:W.A. Dolfsma
Co-supervisor:dr. J.D. (Hans) van der Bij
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Economics and Business
Essay on the internal dynamics of an R&D alliance

In order to overcome competitive challenges, firms increasingly ally, including jointly performing R&D with partners. An alliance can help create new knowledge while share fixed costs, thus allowing a firm to benefit from economies of scale in R&D and avoiding “wasteful” duplication. An alliance may also provide access to new markets. However, why many alliances do not meet expectations, or even fail, remains elusive. The alliance-internal dynamics will be an important reason for this, and yet little research about the collaboration between individuals inside an alliance exists. When individuals from the alliance partners collaborate well with each other, they will perform better and the alliance will be more successful too.

This study finds that the formal social network in the alliance and an individual’s position in it play a rather significant role in members’ knowledge sharing and work performance. In addition, extrinsically motivated individuals better utilize the opportunities through the formal network. Surprisingly, alliance members’ motivation for knowledge sharing and their position in the formal network, rather than their accumulated job experience, do help them recognize the value of shared knowledge. Being different from other studies’ results in the context of a single firm, this study’s results imply that alliances really are special kinds of collaboration forms.