Cross-Cultural Strategic Alliances and Business Partnerships in the Information Technology Industry: Can Trust be Achieved in a Polygamous World?

Cross-Cultural Strategic Alliances and Business Partnerships in the Information Technology Industry: Can Trust be Achieved in a Polygamous World?

By Thomas J. Kosnik, David Bruce Montgomery
1994Working Paper No. 1319

The Japan-America Alliances and Partnerships Project has been investigating business alliances and partnerships between U.S. high-technology ventures and Japanese corporations. The purpose of the project is to promote better understanding of the complex, frequently misunderstood phenomenon of cross-cultural strategic alliances and business partnerships. In particular, the research was designed to help clarify:Why some firms form alliances while others search but do not form partnerships.Why some alliances are deemed business sense from both the U.S. and the Japanese partner's point of view.How leaders of companies involved with multiple alliances think about managing their "partnership portfolios."The study explored the basic issues via semi-structured personal interviews with a small sample of executives involved in the search for and implementation of alliance. It also builds on the past research on strategic alliances, to synthesize the insights of other researchers with the empirical findings from the interviews.Finally, the study tested a conjoint analysis questionnaire on a cross-cultural sample of people involved in the Alliance 1993 conference in Tokyo. Despite repeated requests for cooperation from the researchers and the sponsors of the Alliance Forum, fewer than 10% of the participants agreed to complete the conjoint questionnaire. In contrast, over 90% of the executives the researchers approached for a fact-toface meeting on the same topic agreed to participate in an interview. The response rate from the Tokyo sample is much lower than the response rate from previous samples for which the same conjoint questionnaire was used. The low response rate made it impossible to analyze the conjoint date due to insufficient sample size.