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Partner trustworthiness, knowledge flow in strategic alliances, and firm competitiveness: A contingency perspective


  • Jiang, Xu
  • Bao, Yongchuan
  • Xie, Yan
  • Gao, Shanxing


Firms in strategic alliances acquire knowledge from partners but also face the risk of knowledge leakage to partners. To address such dilemma of knowledge exchange, this study proposes partner trustworthiness as a common determinant of knowledge acquisition and knowledge leakage, and examines the effects of knowledge exchange on firm competitiveness. Moreover, we posit that these effects are contingent on alliance regimes (competitive vs. non-competitive alliances). A survey among 205 partner firms shows that in both alliance regimes, partner trustworthiness facilitates knowledge acquisition, whereas it exerts a negative effect on knowledge leakage in non-competitive alliance, but follows a U-shaped pattern' in competitive alliances. Firm competitiveness increases with knowledge acquisition in competitive alliances, but increases at a decreasing rate in non-competitive alliances. Knowledge leakage undermines firm competitiveness in both alliance regimes. Our study is based on solid theoretical foundations and provides important theoretical and practical implications for knowledge management in strategic alliances.

Suggested Citation

  • Jiang, Xu & Bao, Yongchuan & Xie, Yan & Gao, Shanxing, 2016. "Partner trustworthiness, knowledge flow in strategic alliances, and firm competitiveness: A contingency perspective," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 804-814.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jbrese:v:69:y:2016:i:2:p:804-814
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2015.07.009

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Dai, Ye & Du, Kui & Byun, Gukdo & Zhu, Xi, 2017. "Ambidexterity in new ventures: The impact of new product development alliances and transactive memory systems," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 77-85.
    2. Martin Warland, 2016. "What kinds of regional innovation systems occur around federal agencies?," Diskussionsschriften credresearchpaper10, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft - CRED.
    3. Müller, Jens & Weinrich, Arndt, 2020. "Tax knowledge diffusion via strategic alliances," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 253, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.
    4. DeBoer, Jennifer & Panwar, Rajat & Kozak, Robert & Cashore, Benjamin, 2020. "Squaring the circle: Refining the competitiveness logic for the circular bioeconomy," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(C).
    5. HERCIU Mihaela & OGREAN Claudia, 2018. "Business Sustainable Competitiveness – A Synergistic, Long-Run Approach Of A Company’S Resources And Results," Studies in Business and Economics, Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, Faculty of Economic Sciences, vol. 13(3), pages 26-44, December.
    6. Li, Linwei & Jiang, Feifei & Pei, Yunlong & Jiang, Nengqian, 2017. "Entrepreneurial orientation and strategic alliance success: The contingency role of relational factors," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 46-56.


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