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Transitory alliances: an instrument for surviving turbulent industries?

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Over the past decades, firms have constantly struggled to deal effectively with their rapidly changing environment. Especially in high tech industries, costs of R&D have rocketed, whereas steep learning curves and ever shortening product and technology life cycles have reduced the time to recoup these costs. Under such conditions of turbulence, a new form of alliances becomes an important part of the innovator's toolkit: transitory alliances. Transitory alliances can be defined as short–lived alliances that focus on completing narrowly defined tasks in a very short time frame. Companies can no longer rely exclusively on their traditional alliance and M&A practices to survive industry turbulence. Furthermore, transitory alliances can be a wellspring of innovation and provide companies with access to a portfolio of new ideas. They can help companies to acquire knowledge in a swift manner, thereby strengthening their ability to survive the high speed of change. The specific characteristics of this alliance type are discussed in this paper. Typical examples are taken from Internet related sectors.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Eindhoven Centre for Innovation Studies (ECIS), 2: Maastricht University

Publication date: 2003-01-01

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