Chapter 12. Managing Interorganizational (Alliance) Teams

In one of his final articles, management guru Peter Drucker noted that “The greatest change in corporate culture—and in the way business is being conducted—may be the accelerating growth of relationships based not on ownership but on partnership; joint ventures; minority investments cementing a joint marketing agreement or an agreement to do joint research . . . alliances of all sorts.”[1] Indeed, just as the growth in virtual teams has exploded, one of the most important trends in the global business environment over the past twenty years has been the explosion of alliances between companies. Consider the fact that the percentage of revenues derived from alliances from the top one thousand U.S. public corporations has grown from 3 percent in 1975 to almost 30 percent by 2000. The growth rate is astounding and is expected to continue. Current projections suggest that within the top one thousand U.S. public corporations, alliances will account for roughly 35 percent of revenues by the year 2010.[2]

The growth in alliances is driven by organizations outsourcing activities and focusing on a narrower set of core competencies as they team with other companies with complementary skills. This has been possible because advances in communication technologies have allowed for more effective interorganizational coordination across firm boundaries. However, this has created the complicated situation in which two companies are trying to ...

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