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Ambidexterity in Strategic Alliances: How do Firms Manage Exploration and Exploitation Alliances? An Examination of U.S. High Technology Industries from 1985 to 2009

Ambidexterity in Strategic Alliances: How do Firms Manage Exploration and Exploitation Alliances? An Examination of U.S. High Technology Industries from 1985 to 2009

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Title: Ambidexterity in Strategic Alliances: How do Firms Manage Exploration and Exploitation Alliances? An Examination of U.S. High Technology Industries from 1985 to 2009
Author: Li, Wan
Abstract: This dissertation examines the antecedents and consequences of exploration and exploitation in the context of strategic alliances. Research interest in the framework of exploration-exploitation has increased significantly with much progress made in current literature, yet many questions remain open. In this dissertation, I examine how environmental force (i.e., market uncertainty) and organizational features (i.e., innovative capacity and slack resources) drive organizations’ decisions on forming exploration versus exploitation alliances. In addition, I investigate the performance outcome of balancing exploration and exploitation alliances, by examining multiple approaches including the balance versus focus perspectives, the temporal separation approach, and the domain separation approach.
My study of the antecedents reveals that firms with higher innovative capacity are more likely to form more exploitation alliances than exploration alliances; in contrast, those with more slack resources are inclined to engage in more exploration alliances than exploitation alliances. Under market uncertainty, firms tend to be risk adverse and reduce forming both types of alliances. Furthermore, higher innovative capacity and more slack generally mitigate the negative impact of market uncertainty on alliance formation. My findings regarding performance outcome of exploration and exploitation alliances suggest that balancing them simultaneously may hurt performance. Instead, balance can be executed via temporal separation (i.e., balancing through sequential emphasis on exploration and exploitation over time), or domain separation (i.e., balance through focus on exploration in one domain while exploitation in another), which is particularly important for smaller firms. Organizational ambidexterity does benefit firm performance, given that it is achieved tactically. On the aggregate, my findings confirm that exploration and exploitation are in tension. Organizational features may trigger a firm’s choice between exploration and exploitation in diverse directions; superior performance tends to be more dependent on effective management of the tension. In Previous research, inconsistent conclusions have been drawn regarding the antecedents of exploration and exploitation, and few studies have demonstrated how balance between exploration and exploitation alliances generates favorable outcomes. I have examined both the antecedents and consequences of this framework in the context of strategic alliances, in hope of contributing to a more coherent and complete body of work on this phenomenon.
Subject: Business
Management
Keywords: Alliances
Ambidexterity
Antecedents
Consequences
Type: Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Rights: Author owns copyright, except where explicitly noted. Please contact the author directly with licensing requests.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10315/29991
Supervisor: Tan, Justin
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Program: Administration
Exam date: 2015-01-05
Publish on: 2015-08-28

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