The Challenge of Non-Cooperation

  • Wilma W. Suen


If alliances are vital for firms to achieve goals they cannot reach on their own, why is there non-cooperation? Cooperation is not a denial of a firm’s self-interest or its goal of profit maximization. In the international relations sphere, Morgenthau contended that states pursue alliances for expediency’s sake, not principle.1 Applied to the business context, alliances are a means for a firm to achieve a goal more expeditiously, share risk, or access resources it does not possess. This perspective implies that strategic alliances are not meant to be permanent institutions, but rather, are temporary constructs created in response to a particular situation or environment. As such, the marriage analogy used by many observers is not accurate because it implies permanence. Instead, alliances might resemble a game of musical chairs as firms juggle their partners to access the most valuable assets.


Switching Cost Strategic Alliance Opportunistic Behaviour Dark Side Relative Gain 
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© Wilma W. Suen 2005

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  • Wilma W. Suen

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