Strategic Alliance Formation and Structural Configuration

Haiying Lin, Nicole Darnall

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    70 Scopus citations


    While previous research considering the emergence of strategic alliances has typically viewed their formation through a single theoretical lens, we suggest that multiple theoretical perspectives are needed to understand their complexity. This research conceptually integrates the resource-based view and institutional theory to assess variations in firm-level motivations to form strategic alliances. Applying these ideas to the context of complex environmental problems, we propose that strategic alliances typically are either competency- or legitimacy-oriented, and that four structural dimensions characterize both types of alliances—organization learning, partner diversity, governance structure, and partner relations. We present research propositions that describe how alliances differ along these dimensions, and offer an important broader perspective on alliance formation that is applicable towards understanding their strategic and social outcomes.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)549-564
    Number of pages16
    JournalJournal of Business Ethics
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - Mar 2015


    • Alliance orientation
    • Alliance structure
    • Complex environmental problems
    • Institutional theory
    • Resource-based view
    • Strategic alliances

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Business and International Management
    • General Business, Management and Accounting
    • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
    • Economics and Econometrics
    • Law


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