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Working effectively in strategic alliances through managerial fit between partners: some evidence from Sino–British joint ventures and the implications for R&D professionals

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To succeed in R&D strategic alliances requires not only strategic fit and cultural fit at the organisational level, but also managerial fit at the micro, inter–personal interaction level. This paper provides the results from a cross–cultural study of managerial fit between British and Chinese managers in joint ventures (JVs) initiated in 1993–1998 with a focus on two important issues: the perceived competence and managerial roles of the partners. Managerial fit between partners is critical for the success of R&D strategic alliances including JVs. Misfit in partners’ managerial behaviour often results from the fact that JVs are characterised by the lack of specificity of various managerial tasks shared by the partners at the operational stage. In addition, a manager’s managerial competence as perceived by the counterpart is a contributory factor to trust and supportive reaction from the counterpart, both of which are important for cohesive interaction between partners. This study has revealed that (1) there are similarities and significant differences in some of the characteristics of managerial competence perceived by the counterpart between the British and Chinese managers; and (2) there is often a mismatch of perceptions between the British and Chinese managers with regard to who plays a particular managerial role in a JV. Managerial implications are discussed and issues for further research are highlighted.

Document Type: Original Article


Affiliations: 1: Manchester School of Management, UMIST 2: De Montfort University, UK

Publication date: 2002-09-01

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