IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Alliance Structure and the Scope of Knowledge Transfer: Evidence from U.S.-Japan Agreements

  • Joanne Oxley


    (Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario M5S 3E6, Canada)

  • Tetsuo Wada


    (Faculty of Economics, Gakushuin University, Tokyo 171-8588, Japan)

Prior research suggests that equity joint ventures (JVs) are particularly effective vehicles for accessing complex technology. Different schools of thought have emphasized different reasons why joint ventures might support greater knowledge transfer than "bare" license agreements: incentive alignment, organizational embeddedness, and enhanced administrative controls. We probe and refine these theoretical perspectives, drawing out implications of the different theories for the extent and speed of alliance-related knowledge transfer, as well as for knowledge "leakage" in areas not directly related to alliance activities. Using a proprietary data set derived from regulatory filings with the Japanese government we test these implications in our empirical analysis of U.S.-Japan agreements. The picture that emerges from the analysis is one of particularly intense but contained knowledge transfer in equity joint ventures, relative to bare license agreements: knowledge transfers directly related to the alliance activity are enhanced in the JV, and the speed of integration into the Japanese firm's subsequent innovations also increases. In marked contrast, leakage of unrelated technology is significantly reduced. These findings suggest that administrative structures that reduce technology leakage are a key feature of the equity joint venture, a result that is inconsistent with a "pure" knowledge-based perspective on alliances.

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:
Download Restriction: no

Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

Volume (Year): 55 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 (April)
Pages: 635-649

in new window

Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:55:y:2009:i:4:p:635-649
Contact details of provider: Postal: 7240 Parkway Drive, Suite 300, Hanover, MD 21076 USA
Phone: +1-443-757-3500
Fax: 443-757-3515
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

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:inm:ormnsc:v:55:y:2009:i:4:p:635-649. 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: (Mirko Janc)

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.