IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

A Knowledge Accessing Theory of Strategic Alliances

Listed author(s):
  • Robert M. Grant
  • Charles Baden-Fuller
Registered author(s):

    The emerging knowledge-based view of the firm offers new insight into the causes and management of interfirm alliances. However, the development of an effective knowledge-based theory of alliance formation has been inhibited by a simplistic view of alliances as vehicles for organizational learning in which strategic alliances have presumed to be motivated by firms' desire to acquire knowledge from one another. We argue that the primary advantage of alliances over both firms and markets is in "accessing" rather than "acquiring" knowledge. Building upon the distinction between the knowledge generation ('exploration') and knowledge application ('exploitation'), we show that alliances contribute to the efficiency in the application of knowledge; first, by improving the efficiency with which knowledge is integrated into the production of complex goods and services, and second, by increasing the efficiency with which knowledge is utilized. These static efficiency advantages of alliances are enhanced where there is uncertainty over future knowledge requirements and where new products offer early-mover advantages. Compared with alternative learning-based approaches to alliance formation, our proposed knowledge-accessing theory of alliances offers the advantages of greater theoretical rigour and consistency with general trends in alliance activity and corporate strategy. Copyright Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2004.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    File Function: link to full text
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Journal of Management Studies.

    Volume (Year): 41 (2004)
    Issue (Month): 1 (January)
    Pages: 61-84

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:bla:jomstd:v:41:y:2004:i:1:p:61-84
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    Order Information: Web:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bla:jomstd:v:41:y:2004:i:1:p:61-84. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing)

    or (Christopher F. Baum)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.