Alliance strategy: context, process, and requirements

Bianca Britt Maria Keers

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

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This thesis examines the context, process and requirements for developing an alliance strategy to improve company performance. The research is part of a broader research project called MaSeLMA (Maintenance and Service Logistics for Maritime Assets) that seeks to innovate service logistics within the capital-intensive Dutch maritime sector by means of forming strategic alliances.

Earlier studies have shown that the success rate of alliances is low (only 30-50%). In literature, alliance performances are, on one hand, explained by means of the structural characteristics of the inter-organisational relationship. For example, alliance success is related to the strategic or cultural synergy between participating organisations, the level of trust and communication, and the balance between power and control. On the other hand, research focuses on the individual organisations to explain differences between successful and unsuccessful organisations in alliance formation. Results indicate the importance of alliance experience and the ability to incorporate alliance knowledge within business management.

Although we recognise the importance of above factors, this thesis assumes that alliance success depends on the extent to which participating organisations are able to develop their capabilities in preparation for the joint effort. The objective of this thesis is to identify principles for organisational development in the sense of improving alliance capability, as well as to gain insight in the close interaction between intra-organisational and inter-organisational performance management. A diverse yet coherent set of theories was explored and integrated as a starting point for empirical research.


Qualitative business research aimed at gaining insight is combined with action research aimed at joint development. Research has been carried out at seven organisations, with an in-depth study of two of these organisations. Discussions were conducted with senior managers and subsequently in-depth interviews were held with various employees experienced in and responsible for the alliance formation process. A collaborative experiment was also used to validate the results.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Twente
  • Zijm, Henk, Supervisor
  • van Fenema, Paul C., Supervisor, External person
Award date15 Dec 2017
Place of PublicationEnschede
Print ISBNs978-90-365-4458-0
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes


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