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Paper info: Partner selection processes in international strategic alliances by small and medium sized businesses:UK fresh produce growers and their overseas partners

Title


Partner selection processes in international strategic alliances by small and medium sized businesses:UK fresh produce growers and their overseas partners

Authors


JulietteJ Wilson and Susan Shaw

Place of Publication


The paper was published at the 24th IMP-conference in Uppsala, Sweden in 2008.

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Abstract


This paper examines the search and selection processes used by small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) who seek partners for international strategic alliances. Its focus is on how alliances are established and how a firm's social network structure can influence this process. In the search for success, one major element must be the initial choice of a suitable partner (Shenkar & Zeira, 1992, Barkema & Vermeulen, 1997, Gulati, 1998: Inkpen 2001) and research by Glaister & Buckley (1999) shows that the quality and extensiveness of the evaluation of the partner prior to selection plays a role in success. Nevertheless, relatively little is still known about the way in which partners are actually selected. The purpose of this study is to attempt to fill this gap by an empirical study of international strategic alliances in the UK fresh produce sector.There were a number of key findings from the study. First, that SME's will turn first to businesses with whom they have satisfactory relationships when selecting alliance partners using the network of previous alliances as an important information source to dispel risk. Second, that if businesses do not have prior relationships that they can use, they will turn to third party networks to identify potential partners. Only failing this will they search more widely. Finally, that alliance behaviour in this study is best understood in the context of the supply chain as a whole.