Theory and Hypotheses
This section represents the core of my theoretical argument. An introduction to the field and the main research questions have already been presented in chapter 0. Chapters 1 and 2 contain an overview of the theoretical concepts employed to build the following hypotheses and finally test them. After a definition of key terms, I will first discuss the concept of “fit” in strategy research as a basis for theory development. Second, I will explain the fundamental interdependence between a firm's strategic orientation and the development of its alliance portfolio. Third, I will take a closer look at how a firm's “strategic orientation” can actually be identified. Although a successful business strategy is fundamentally unique, it is possible to classify organizations into a limited number of generic “strategic types”. Firms within the same strategic cluster show similar patterns of organizational characteristics (e.g. breadth of business scope, areas of preferred resource commitment, etc.). Consequently, firms in different clusters behave differently and have differing resource needs. Forth, I will discuss the concept of “alliance portfolio”. In a nutshell, a firm's alliance portfolio can be described along the following dimensions: network size, network heterogeneity and tie strength. Hypotheses on the relationship between a firm's strategic orientation and its network attributes along the above mentioned dimensions will be developed. Finally, I will argue that, ceteris paribus, firms who better align their alliance portfolios with strategy will outperform those who don't.
KeywordsSocial Capital Firm Performance Business Strategy Strategic Alliance Structural Hole
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