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Alliance motivations, control mechanisms and alliance performance: Evidence from China

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Strategic alliance can aid firms to build and sustain their competitive advantages. Firms set up strategic alliance mainly for two purposes: resource acquisition and capability learning. Formal control and social control are two widely adopted control mechanisms to secure the effectiveness of strategic alliance. In this study, we construct a model to analyze the choice of control mechanisms based on alliance motivations and the influence of control mechanisms on alliance performance. Based on a survey of 607 Chinese firms, we find that when resource acquisition is the key motivation behind alliance, formal control should be enhanced. Whereas when capability learning is the main purpose of alliance, social control becomes a better choice. Furthermore, this research also finds that the impact of both formal control and social control on alliance performance are nonlinear. Suggestions are provided on how to effectively use control mechanisms to attain the purposes of strategic alliance and on how to use control mechanisms to enhance alliance performance.


企业为了不同的目标 (资源获取和能力学习) 建立战略联盟, 而有效的联盟 控制机制 (正式控制和社会控制) 是实现目标的重要保证. 从企业间战略联盟的动 机出发, 提出了实现不同的联盟目标所应采取的控制方式, 并研究了不同的联盟控 制方式对于联盟绩效的影响. 通过中国企业间联盟的数据的实证检验, 发现当资源 获取是联盟的主要动机时, 正式控制应当被增强; 而当能力学习是联盟的主要动机 时, 社会控制则是更好的选择. 同时, 还发现正式控制和社会控制对联盟绩效的影 响是非线性的.


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Correspondence to Zhongfeng Su.

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Translated and revised from Nankai guanli pinglun 南开맜理评论 (Nankai Business Review), 2007, (5): 4–11

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About this article


  • strategic alliance
  • resource acquisition
  • capability learning
  • control mechanisms
  • alliance performance


  • 战略联盟
  • 资源获取
  • 能力学习
  • 控制机制
  • 联盟绩效