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The paper examines factors influencing the formation of horizontal inter-firm strategic alliances in dynamic product markets characterised by rapid rates of technological change and a high degree of market uncertainty. A novel self-organisation approach to strategic alliances is developed which is contrasted with transaction cost and competence approaches. The self-organisation approach is operationalised by a simulation model, the results of which highlight the importance of micro-macro feedbacks between individuals' decision-making and emergent institutional environments. Industries with similar initial characteristics can evolve into very different institutional regimes because firms' decisions to cooperate within an alliance or to compete individually are interdependent, expected payoffs depending on the sequence of prior decisions. The findings raise a serious question mark against structuralist approaches to the study of strategic alliances.
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Keywords: Innovation networks; Self-organisation; Strategic alliances

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Instutut für Volkswirtschaftslehre, WiSo-Facultät, Universität Augsburg, Universiätstrae 16, D-86135 Augsburg 2: The Business School, Manchester Metropolitan University, Aytoun Street, Manchester, M1 3GH, UK

Publication date: January 1, 2003

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