Leading and Managing Strategic Alliances

Swetketu Patnaik

Mr Saptarshi Ghosh

Strategic alliances are considered as one of the key component of corporate strategy to attain organisational growth. Companies pursue alliance strategy to access complementary knowledge and resources. Aligning with other partners allow companies to build new businesses, reach new customers, carry out research and development activities and provide services efficiently and effectively. I essence, strategic inter-organizational partnerships, allow firms to adapt to change and hedge risks.

Notwithstanding significance of strategic alliances, these inter-organizational arrangements are notoriously difficult to plan, execute, and maintain over time. In fact, it is suggested that a vast majority of alliances fail before they add any significant value to the partnering organisations. In this course, we will explore challenges underpinning strategic alliances in general. We will critically engage with the issues relating to trust, control and learning and how they impact functioning of such arrangements. Clearly, alliances demand different leadership and management skills from those individuals, who are closely involved in the formation and operationalization of strategic alliances. In fact, leaders and managers need to lead, guide, and influence management of strategic alliances without demand skills to engage with alliance challenges without clear authority and reporting relationships. Understanding socio-cultural, structural and institutional differences amongst the partners are central to engage with the alliance phenomenon.

Course Aimed At: The course is open to students from different disciplines, who have interest in understanding why organizations form strategic alliances and how these organizational arrangements are managed. In exploring various aspects underpinning strategic alliances, the course will provide an opportunity to gain skills insight and technique to participate in alliances and collaborations in their career.

Pre-Requisite Knowledge Required: No specific pre-requisite knowledge is required

Transferable Knowledge and Skills: This course aims to provide conceptual and theoretical and practical knowledge to engage with various aspects relating to strategic alliances. By the end of the course, students should be able to critically evaluate the rationale for strategic alliances and various leadership and managerial challenges that inter-organizational partnerships present as they evolve over time. One of the central aims of the course is to provide a solid base to students to analyse strategic, organisational and cultural fit among partners and how to effectively resolve conflicts as partnerships evolve over time


1 Final Essay (2,500 – 3,000 words): 50%

1 Final Exam: 50%

Lecture Hours: 12 x 1 hour 15 minutes (total 15 hours)

Seminar Hours: 8 x 1 hour 15 minutes (total 10 hours)

Reading List

  • John Child, David Faulkner and Stephen Tallman (2005). Cooperative Strategy: Managing Alliances, Networks, and Joint Ventures (Paperback Edition). UK: Oxford University Press.
  • Ranjay Gulati (2007). Managing Network Resources: Alliances, Affiliations, and Other Relational Assets(Paperback Edition). UK:Oxford University Press.
  • Doz. Y.L. & Hamel, G. (1998). Alliance advantage: The art of creating value through partnering. Boston. MA: Harvard Business School Press.