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Paper info: Evolution of Resources in Inter-firm Collaboration: the Case of Olivetti/Canon


Evolution of Resources in Inter-firm Collaboration: the Case of Olivetti/Canon


Helen Perks

Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 16th IMP-conference in Bath, U.K in 2000.


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This paper present a model for understanding the evolution of resources within a dyadicresource exchange relationship (see Perks & Easton, 2000) between two firms. The model isapplied to a strategic alliance between two international organisations.There has been recent focus in the strategic management domain on understanding anduncovering the key stages that unfold as inter-firm relationships develop (Doz, 1996, Gulati1998). Such work suggests that whilst initial conditions may play a key role in thedevelopment of an alliance, the evolution and dynamics of alliances can be influential onactivities and decision-making.The resource-based school of thought (see Foss, 1997), which sees firms as a bundle ofheretoregeneous resources, has moved on from static analysis of such resource configurationsto a recognition that the resource accumulation processes themselves are instrumental increating value or sustaining competitive advantage for the firm.IMP research is beginning to make efforts to clearly articulate types and configurations ofresources at play within relationships. In particular, it places the firm in a web of inter-firmrelationships from which they draw resources and to which resources are committed. TheARA (Actor-Resources-Activities) model has been the basis of many recent studies and isfrequently used to identify the objects of study.This on-going study draws from the above bodies of research. It employs a longitudinal casestudy approach and adopts a realist approach which seeks to understand causal powers(Easton, 1995).A model is developed based on the idea of periodisation (Jessop, 1990). It identifies resourcesand their dimensions and seeks to articulate the changes in configurations of resources ineach period. In addition, it maps the activities and actors involved in influencing suchresource changes. The contingencies and deep processes underlying such ARAconfigurations are explored and demonstrated throughout the periods.The model is applied to the case of a joint venture in the mid-range photocopier sectorbetween Olivetti (an Italian office equipment supplier) and Canon (a Japanese office andcamera equipment supplier). The study maps the evolution of the alliance from its onset in1987 until 1998.