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Benefits and Drawbacks of Coopetition: The Roles of Scope and Durability in Coopetitive Relationships


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The growing importance of cooperative relationships may currently be observed throughout the world. The vast majority of such relationships take the form of coopetition, i.e., the simultaneous existence of cooperation and competition between competitors. Previous research on coopetition characterizes these relationships mostly in the context of the benefits achieved. Researchers emphasize a number of benefits resulting from coopetition, e.g., stimulation of innovations of partners, development of the technology, obtaining complementary resources, entering new markets, or creating new products. However, when deciding to begin coopetition, companies should not only consider the benefits, but also the drawbacks associated with such relationships. This is due to the fact that disadvantages are inherent features of coopetitive relationships between competitors. The relationship between the duration of cooperative relationships in particular areas and the benefits and costs associated with these relationships is scarcely researched. Using a sample of 210 companies operating in the high-tech sector in Poland, we aimed to cover this gap in the knowledge base and to analyze this aspect of coopetition. Several research methods including multidimensional correspondence analysis, correlation analysis of qualitative variables, a chi-square test, multi-table analysis, and association rules were applied. The results of our research showed that coopetition is a viable strategy which contributes to the sustainable development of firms. We also found that the duration of coopetitive relationships in different areas of company activity is related to different types of benefits to collaboration partners.
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Benefits and Drawbacks of Coopetition: The Roles of
Scope and Durability in Coopetitive Relationships
Joanna Cygler 1, Włodzimierz Sroka 2, *, Marina Solesvik 3,4 ID and Katarzyna D˛ebkowska 5
1Collegium of Business Administration, Warsaw School of Economics, 02-554 Warsaw, Poland;
2Faculty of Applied Sciences, WSB University, 41-300 D ˛abrowa Górnicza, Poland
3Nord University Business School, Nord University, Universitetsaleen, 8049 Bodø, Norway;
4Faculty of Business Administration and Social Sciences, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences,
Campus Haugesund, Bjørnsonsgate 45, 5528 Haugesund, Norway
5Faculty of Management Engineering, Bialystok University of Technology, 15-001 Białystok, Poland;
*Correspondence:; Tel.: +48-602-744-239
Received: 18 June 2018; Accepted: 30 July 2018; Published: 1 August 2018
The growing importance of cooperative relationships may currently be observed throughout
the world. The vast majority of such relationships take the form of coopetition, i.e., the simultaneous
existence of cooperation and competition between competitors. Previous research on coopetition
characterizes these relationships mostly in the context of the benefits achieved. Researchers
emphasize a number of benefits resulting from coopetition, e.g., stimulation of innovations of
partners, development of the technology, obtaining complementary resources, entering new markets,
or creating new products. However, when deciding to begin coopetition, companies should not
only consider the benefits, but also the drawbacks associated with such relationships. This is due to
the fact that disadvantages are inherent features of coopetitive relationships between competitors.
The relationship between the duration of cooperative relationships in particular areas and the benefits
and costs associated with these relationships is scarcely researched. Using a sample of 210 companies
operating in the high-tech sector in Poland, we aimed to cover this gap in the knowledge base
and to analyze this aspect of coopetition. Several research methods including multidimensional
correspondence analysis, correlation analysis of qualitative variables, a chi-square test, multi-table
analysis, and association rules were applied. The results of our research showed that coopetition
is a viable strategy which contributes to the sustainable development of firms. We also found that
the duration of coopetitive relationships in different areas of company activity is related to different
types of benefits to collaboration partners.
coopetition; benefits and drawbacks of coopetition; scope and durability of coopetition;
competitors; sustainability
1. Introduction
Coopetition is regarded as a phenomenon of inter-organizational cooperation, both bilateral
and multilateral, which developed intensively over recent years. As a relatively new research area,
coopetition draws its roots from the field of cooperative strategies, both in the single (bilateral alliances)
and multilateral dimensions (networks, clusters) [
]. The most recent decade was characterized by the
dynamic growth of coopetition worldwide. New types of relationships (business, political, economic,
and social) arose. It is anticipated that this phenomenon will become more and more important in the
Sustainability 2018,10, 2688; doi:10.3390/su10082688
Sustainability 2018,10, 2688 2 of 24
future [
]. On the other hand, coopetition, as a multidimensional and multifaceted concept, is regarded
as a somewhat peculiar object of research. Despite the growing number of publications, it is a relatively
poorly known phenomenon, and a general understanding of the concept is still some way off.
Coopetition is defined as simultaneous cooperation and competition between competitors [
Coopetition belongs to the highest-cost inter-organizational relationships [
]. This results from the
contradiction of the logic that coopetition is based on trust and conflict. In coopetition, trust is perceived
through three dimensions: calculation (trust based on calculation), understanding (trust based on
knowledge), and personal involvement (trust based on identification) [
]. Those dimensions change
with the development of coopetitive relationships. Trust and the commonality of interests form the
basis of effective cooperation [
]. Because of this, the tendency toward contact and mutual concessions
increases [
]. On the other hand, rivalry is a result of competition for limited heterogenic resources
and the race for the “favors” of the same customers [
]. Despite the low level of trust resulting from
the competitive nature of cooperation, it arises in the framework of links between competitors [
Cooperation between competitors does not mean it weakens their rivalry. It only tends to increase
the effects of relationships [
]. The level of trust between staff determines the direction of the firm’s
profitability, with trust expressed as the leading manager (trust in partners) which is indispensable for
smooth operation and long-term existence [12].
Recent research aimed to study the links between the application of coopetition strategy and
the sustainable development of firms [
]. Sustainability is defined as “meeting the needs of a
firm’s direct and indirect stakeholders (such as shareholders, employees, clients, pressure groups,
communities, etc.), without compromising its ability to meet the needs of future stakeholders as
well” [
] (p. 131). To achieve the sustainable development of business, firms concentrate on economic,
social, and environmental improvements [
]. Many of these improvements cannot be achieved by
individual firms alone due to resources, time, competence, and other barriers. Thus, firms need to
collaborate with other firms and organizations, including competitors, to address social, environmental,
and economic needs [
]. Furthermore, a coopetition-driven strategy helps both small [
] and large
firms [
] to develop sustainable business. The issues surrounding coopetition strategies and the
impact upon sustainability are largely neglected.
Coopetitive behavior is most frequently analyzed in the context of relationships between
enterprises. Previous research showed the occurrence of simultaneous streams of cooperation
and competition at the intra-organizational level, especially in transnational corporations [
and networks
], as well as in the social dimension between individuals [
]. Coopetition
may also be distinguished horizontally (within the same sector) and vertically (within the value
chain) [
]. The general level of trust positively influences not only the relationships and the
collaboration between individuals in society and the management of enterprises in general, but also
earnings before tax [31]. Thus, meeting both social and economic needs contributes to sustainability.
The coopetitive relationships between enterprises are usually considered overall through the
prism of general benefits and costs. However, the analysis of cooperation between competitors in
individual areas of the value chain will make it possible to distinguish the range of benefits and
costs associated with coopetition. The duration of the relationship is also important. Competitive
cooperation is characterized by the diversified dynamics of relationships. Thus, it is important to
explore the link between the duration of cooperative relationships in particular areas and the size
and scope of the benefits and costs associated with these relationships. Taking these research gaps
into account, this study, based on an analysis of the high-tech industry in Poland, aimed to provide
answers to the following three research questions:
What role does time play in the creation of benefits and disadvantages in specific areas related
to coopetition?
Are there any individual benefits (or groups of benefits) leading to sustainability, and what are
the corresponding costs?
In which areas is the cost–benefit relationship most beneficial and why?
Sustainability 2018,10, 2688 3 of 24
Given these facts, the goal of this paper was to analyze the benefits and drawbacks of coopetition
in relation to the scope and duration of cooperation between competitors. The objective of the study
was achieved based on the analysis of data gathered through a survey methodology. Analyses were
carried out on a sample of 210 companies operating in the high-tech sector in Poland. Several research
methods, including multidimensional correspondence analyses, correlation analysis of qualitative
variables, a chi-square test, multi-table analysis, and association rules were applied to achieve the
given objective. Such research would be interesting for scholars studying collaboration and coopetitive
strategies. The results of the current research will also be useful for practitioners seeking to establish
effective coopetitive relationships with other firms. Finally, the results might be useful for policymakers
who might promote coopetition among national firms.
Our paper is structured as follows: Firstly, we describe the phenomenon of coopetition that is
presented in the literature so far. The emphasis was concentrated on the benefits and disadvantages as
a function of the scope of activity, as well as on the durability of coopetition. Secondly, we present the
methodology that was applied in this research. The next part of our paper presents the research results
and analyzes the results in detail. Finally, we present the conclusions and limitations of our study.
2. Theoretical Background of Coopetition
Coopetitive relationships are mainly interpreted in terms of three theoretical concepts: game
theory, transaction costs theory, and the resource-based approach. In game theory, coopetitive
relationships are treated as a positive-sum game, which gives all players the opportunity to gain
benefits. Coopetition is perceived as a game in which the interests of the parties partially overlap.
Coopetition in game theory is based on the classic analysis of the prisoner’s dilemma [
]. In order
to limit opportunistic behavior in the solution to the prisoner’s dilemma, a “tit for tat” strategy is
applied [
], which uses the principle of reciprocity in the actions of players, encouraging them
to think strategically about the implementation of particular movements. The payout structure,
the timeframe of the activities, and the number of players affect the nature of activities in the
direction of cooperation [
]. The tendency of players toward cooperation also increases with the
importance of future movements and payments (i.e., the shadow of the future) and the durability of the
relationship [
]. Brandenburger and Nalebuff [
] created the so-called Value Net Model belonging
to game theory and the PARTS model of coopetition. Numerous horizontal and vertical links in the
value network generate added value (a pie to be shared). In turn, the competition phenomenon arises
in the case of sharing this value between network members.
The transaction costs theory suggests three forms of organizational functionality, i.e., market
transactions, hierarchical structures, and hybrid relationships [
]. Companies choose coopetitive
relationships (hybrid) as a response to the generation of additional transaction costs resulting from
market imperfections [
] and hierarchic structures [
]. Coopetition belongs to the hybrid
forms that are mostly affected by transaction costs. This typically results in the competitive nature of
cooperation between rivals, an increase in the uncertainty of the parties’ actions, and the complexity of
the relationship [41]. The level of trust between partners in coopetitive relationships is also relatively
low, which leads to the creation of so-called opportunistic cooperation [
]. Maintaining a stream of
competitive relationships among the partners increases the likelihood of conflict occurring, which,
in addition to opportunism, is the result of free-riding activities and limited rationality [43].
In the resource-based concept, enterprises decide to cooperate with organizations that have
complementary and strategic resources. Cooperation with companies (including competitors) that
hold complementary assets may generate benefits resulting in the synergy of joint resources (which
are the subject of cooperation) with the resources available to the company [
]. The limitation of
access to deficit resources for companies outside of the relationship may be regarded as an advantage
of coopetition [
]. Coopetitive relationships are also created to form resources: developing new
technologies, creating or jointly acquiring information and knowledge, and acquiring significant
competences, including coopetition competences [47].
Sustainability 2018,10, 2688 4 of 24
In addition to the three main theoretical concepts, the phenomenon of coopetition is increasingly
being analyzed through the prism of the concept of strategic alliances [
], and network
theory [3,23,5052]
. There are also references to philosophy [
], biology [
], and legal
sciences [
]. Despite the diversity of scientific inspirations that make it possible to explore the
complexity of coopetition, the state of knowledge of this phenomenon should be regarded as “in
transition” [
]. It is a relatively poorly known phenomenon, and a general understanding of the
concept is still some way off [60].
2.1. Benefits of Coopetition
An increased interest in coopetitive relationships results mainly from the complexity of the
environment, resulting primarily in the development of the phenomenon of hyper-competition [
the globalization processes of the sectors [
] and their technological advancement—mainly due to
the short product–technology life cycle, technology convergence, and R&D costs [
]. In situations
in which one of these three phenomena appears in the environment, the conditions in which enterprises
operate will be sufficient to create coopetitive relationships. Considering the specifics of technologically
advanced sectors, in the overwhelming majority of cases, the phenomenon of susceptibility to
globalization and hyper-competition will occur at the same time. In addition, many firms nowadays
are concerned with sustainability issues and aim to achieve economic, social, and environmental
benefits. Thus, coopetition arises in which coopetitive relationships are the condition for survival
and sustainability.
The analysis of the benefits of coopetition draws its inspiration not only from theoretical
foundations (transaction cost theory, game theory, and the resource-based approach), but also from
cooperation experiences and strategic alliances (especially horizontal ones) [48,6873].
The decision on simultaneous cooperation and competition with a competitor is one of the most
difficult decisions which managers in the modern business world face. Most of them choose this type
of relationship due to the significant benefits derived from coopetition [
]. Bengtsson and Kock [
even treat coopetition as a strategy with enormous development potential for enterprises. Considering
the growing complexity of the environment, in many cases, coopetition becomes the only chance for
the company’s survival and sustainable development. In other words, coopetition seems to be the
only solution.
Enterprises declare their willingness to create coopetitive relationships to obtain complementary
resources [
], especially non-tangible ones or those that are otherwise unavailable. Synergy effects
take place between complementary resources, which make the systems of these resources more valuable
and more difficult for other competitors to imitate [
]. Zineldin [
] even treats the complementary
resources possessed by the parties as a prerequisite for the success of coopetitive relationships.
Coopetition also stimulates the innovation of partners [
] and the development of
technology [
]. In accordance with the resource-based concept, enterprises declare their will
to create coopetitive relationships in order to jointly create intangible assets, including the ability
to transfer and use their knowledge, cooperation, and skills to increase the efficiency of the
organization. The exchange of knowledge and experience also helps in terms of entering new markets
(especially those with increased investment risk) through, among other things, the reduction of entry
barriers [48,84], as well as creating new products [66].
Competitive cooperation allows companies to achieve economies of scale and range [
The benefits of coverage, not only in the geographical sense, but also in terms of the expansion of the
market, are also increasingly indicated [
]. Coopetition reduces operational costs [
], among others,
by reducing the risk of functioning [78,87].
Coopetitive relationships contribute to the creation of values [
], the dynamic development
of companies, and an increase in the value of coopetitors [
]. Often, coopetitive relationships are
made of a defensive nature; in addition to strengthening market position, coopetitive relationships
also protect market position and increase entry barriers for non-system entities (e.g., companies in the
Sustainability 2018,10, 2688 5 of 24
European Union). One may then emphasize that coopetition generates benefits in the market, financial,
management, and technological dimensions. Thus, the following hypothesis can be derived:
Hypothesis 1 (H1). The benefits of cooperation with a competitor are greater than the losses incurred.
2.2. Drawbacks of Coopetition
However, there are threats and risks related to coopetitive inter-organizational relationships.
Several publications devoted to these relationships labeled them “sleeping with the enemy” [
The competitive nature of coopetitive relationships gives rise to the occurrence of opportunistic
behavior in the system. The level of this behavior is greater than in the case of alliances formed with
non-competitive organizations and other hybrid links [
]. Unethical behavior occurs as companies
break the rules of the market “game” (e.g., market, price, and tender conspiracy). A low level of trust
becomes an opportunity to treat coopetitive relationships in terms of temporality. Companies are
keenly interested in achieving their goals in the shortest possible time, and when firms achieve their
goals, they lose the will to cooperate further.
The uncontrolled leakage of information (and other intangible assets) by a partner, or even
economic espionage [
], is an additional risk. As a consequence, there is a real risk of losing control
over a firm’s own resources [
]. The asymmetry of benefits derived from the coopetitive relationship
may appear during joint work on technological development that may result in a loss of control by
one of the parties over common technology and one’s own activity.
Coopetition also leads to the asymmetry of benefits derived from the relationship and distorts the
pillars of stable cooperation, i.e., maintaining the relationship between benefits derived and one’s own
contribution to the system [60]. Asymmetric access to resources may also arise [23].
Coopetitive relationships are characterized as having a high degree of conflict. This is mainly due
to the coexistence and interaction of streams of cooperation and competition in the relationship between
the parties. This results in increased transaction costs for the entire project. The continuing high level
of conflict between the parties may reduce the effectiveness of cooperation and the effectiveness of
both individual and common goals of the parties involved.
The specificity of coopetition causes parties to attempt to protect their interests through
agreements of exclusivity. This means that any decision to cooperate with one competitor limits
the possibilities of cooperation with the others (coopetitive negative blocks) [94].
A loss of organizational independence and decision-making is an equally dangerous threat
stemming from competitive cooperation. Contractual clauses limit the possibility of choosing another
partner to cooperate with. At the same time, the complexity of coopetition forces parties to take
the requirements of competitive cooperation into account in their strategic decisions. This limits the
freedom of a company’s decision-making, which is particularly troublesome when creating multiple
coopetitive links. Limiting the autonomy of decision-making becomes the price of functioning in
coopetitive networks [55].
Coopetitive systems also cause the weakening of existing sources of competitive advantages and
key competences [
]. Aggressive and opportunistic behavior threatens a sense of community fostered
by cooperation. The high costs of settlement mean that parties strive for domination in coopetitive
relationships. There is a danger of transforming the relationships into a zero-sum game. As a result of
continuous conflict and the aggressiveness of mutual activities, the parties are weakened, which has
both organizational and market consequences. In the case of organizational consequences, frequent
attempts were made by stronger units to take over weak partners, bringing about a subsequent loss
of organizational independence. Conflict in a coopetitive relationship brings about a decrease in the
quality of relationships with other members of a business ecosystem. This may result in a loss of trust
(particularly customers) and deterioration in market position.
The disadvantages of coopetition also cover the sphere of a company’s image. Any reports
of conflicts with a coopetitor or problems in cooperation cast a shadow on the company’s image.
Sustainability 2018,10, 2688 6 of 24
They may have their own consequences in the perception of the company by the business environment,
particularly by the market and financial institutions. In drastic cases, the occurrence of troublesome
relationships with a competitor may have an impact on the value of the company’s shares.
A study conducted by Ritala et al. [
] also showed that cooperation with competitors might
generate above-average costs of functioning, beyond the financial capabilities of the company.
For example, Porter [
] (p. 613) argues that alliances “always involve significant costs in terms
of coordination, reconciling goals with an independent entity, creating a competitor, and giving
up profits”. Importantly, alliances with competitors should be terminated on time if coopetitive
relationships cease to satisfy their strategic goals and outlive their effectiveness [
]. Another reason
for terminating coopetition is associated with the high costs related to alliance management, time
costs, and threats from a competitor that might offset the benefits from cooperation [
]. As a
consequence, coopetitive relationships may lead to threats to the company’s continued existence.
Vaidya [
] emphasizes cultural differences as a platform for misunderstandings and conflicts in
coopetitive relationships.
Coopetitive relationships take diverse forms due to the characteristics of cooperation and
competition [
]. The stratification of coopetitive relationships depends not only on the existence
of streams of cooperation between rivals, but also on the internal structure that is expressed by the
areas of cooperation. Most frequently, individual activities in the value chain of enterprises that are
involved in competitive cooperation are analyzed for this purpose. Cygler and Sroka [
] showed that
cooperation between competitors could cover all activities of the value chain. Most often, however,
competitors decide to cooperate in at least two areas of a mixed nature (both primary and support
activities). The competitive nature of cooperation between rivals causes the emergence of threats to be
treated as an inherent feature of these relationships. This discussion leads to the following hypothesis:
Hypothesis 2
). The types of benefits obtained and losses suffered are associated with the specificity of the
area of coopetition.
2.3. Duration of Coopetition
An analysis of the literature devoted to coopetition shows that a paradox exists here. On one
hand, the uncertainty of the future encourages cooperation in order to acquire benefits [
]. On the
other hand, coopetitive relationships are characterized by a high level of opportunistic behavior [
sudden twists [
], tensions [
], the pursuit of private benefits [
], and the short-term horizon of
actions [
]. The issue of the time required to generate benefits and costs occurring in particular areas
of the value chain then arises. For example, strategic alliances where one observes the occurrence of
coopetitive relationships are characterized by high levels of instability [
]. Though strategic alliances
are temporary organization structures a priori, and terminations are planned from the beginning [
some alliances dissolve or change partner structure before the joint goals are achieved [
], i.e.,
before the planned alliance horizon is reached. Internal tensions are responsible for instabilities
in the coopetitive relationships. Bengtsson and Kock [
] argued that tensions are higher when
competitors cooperate than in pure cooperative relationships. Tensions in coopetitive relationships
are inevitable [
]. They occur, on one hand, because of attractive opportunities that cooperation
might bring, and, on the other hand, because of a possible threat from the predatory behavior of a
competitor [
]. Another reason for tensions is the partially convergent goals of involved parties [
Coopetitive tensions are negatively and significantly associated with the performance of coopetitive
relationships [109].
The more cooperative or more competitive mindsets of partners influence the duration of
coopetitive ventures, as well as the mutual benefits or losses that partners achieve. Trust, a widely
discussed factor in collaboration research [
], facilitates cooperation, and distrust enables competition
in coopetitive relationships [
]. Notably, the formalization of coopetitive relationships secures
long-term cooperation. For example, the respondents of Tomski’s [
] study signaled that 52% of
Sustainability 2018,10, 2688 7 of 24
formalized coopetitive relationships will be long-term, and only 19% of non-formalized coopetitive
arrangements will have a long-term nature.
Flexibility is related to the ability of competing firms to change the structural arrangements in the
strategic alliance with the aim of adapting to changing market conditions. The flexibility of coopetitive
partners contributes to the longevity of the strategic alliance.
In coopetition between a small firm and a large firm, as a rule, the former will aim to secure
long-term cooperation in order to have enduring contracts, as well as to overcome the liability of
smallness and/or newness [
]. In other words, the longer the coopetitive alliance lasts, the bigger
the reputational and other benefits a small firm might gain. Conversely, the larger coopetitive partner
will tend to have a short-term orientation to achieve its goals as soon as possible and not to give
the competitor the opportunity to learn and grow in the process of cooperation. In short-term
alliances, resources will be exploited quickly in order to gain immediate results and terminate the
By contrast,
in long-term oriented coopetitive arrangements, short-term gains might be
sacrificed in order to preserve/secure the sustainability of the alliance. Thus, coopetition is a profitable
strategy; however, “strategic alliances are the sites in which conflicting forces develop” [
]. Namely,
cooperation and competition are two conflicting forces in coopetition.
Though the previous research related to the time factor in coopetition is extant, surprisingly,
the existing studies do not consider the relationship among the longevity of an alliance, the area of
coopetition, and the benefits that such coopetition can bring. In order to cover this gap in the knowledge
base, we tested the following hypotheses related to several coopetition areas (i.e., R&D, supply,
production/services, sales/distribution/marketing, logistics, finance, IT, and human resources):
Hypothesis 3
). Coopetition effects are associated with the duration of cooperation between competitors in
selected areas.
Hypothesis 4
). Different types of benefits and losses that occur during coopetition are associated with the
duration of cooperation with the competitor.
3. Materials and Methods
A group of 210 companies from the high-tech sector which declared competitive cooperation
was analyzed. The choice of the sectors in the research sample results from the fact that, in high-tech
sectors, R&D expenditures are very high, exceeding the capabilities of an increasing number of
enterprises. Also, these sectors are susceptible to the phenomenon of hyper-
competition [61,113,114]
and globalization [
], which causes an even greater increase in operating costs. One of the most
effective ways of surviving in high-tech sectors is to join cooperative relationships with direct
competitors. Therefore, many researchers focus on these sectors, because it is in these sectors
that the phenomenon of coopetition occurs relatively often. However, researchers concentrate
mainly on one selected sector, e.g. the telecom industry [
], the smart card industry [
the simulator industry [
], the aviation industry [
], the automotive industry [
] and creative
clusters [
]. In this article, the high-tech sector was defined according to the OECD classification [
These enterprises represented a diversified sample due to the different branches of the high-tech sector
(Figure 1). The choice of the research sample was influenced by the characteristics of the sector and the
commonality of the coopetitive relationships created therein. Data were collected directly by means
of questionnaire surveys. The respondents were senior management executives or company owners.
The research was conducted in 2013.
The selection of the research sample was conducted at several stages. The companies
surveyed were classified into seven basic industries: processing and manufacturing (15 companies),
the pharmaceutical sector (71), production of office equipment and computers (four), production
of TV, radio, and communication equipment (27), medical equipment production (48), spaceship
production (13), and high-tech services (32). With regards to size, the majority are small companies
Sustainability 2018,10, 2688 8 of 24
(116), followed by medium-sized firms (64), and the least numerous group includes large companies
(30). Taking the organizational form into account, there are 152 stand-alone companies, 44 corporations,
12 holdings, and two others. The majority of the companies analyzed are domestic organizations
(147), while the remainder (63) operate on a transnational scale. The sample meets the requirements of
representativeness of the population of companies operating in the high-tech sector in Poland.
Sustainability2018,10,xFORPEERREVIEW 8of25
Figure 1. Sectors analyzed.
The analysis of the results obtained during this study was carried out using statistical methods,
suitable for the specifics of the results achieved. Such methods allow researchers to study the
relationship between two or several non-measurable variables: multidimensional correspondence
analysis, correlation analysis of qualitative variables (a chi-square test), multi-table analysis,
and association rules. The computer package Statistica was used in the calculations.
The correspondence analysis is a descriptive, exploratory technique of multivariate statistical
analysis, allowing one to define the nature and structure of the relationship between qualitative
variables, measured in nominal and ordinal scales [
]. The correspondence analysis belongs to the
group of incomplete taxonomic methods. This method is widely used in studies related to collaboration
and coopetition [
]. This technique, as well as multidimensional scaling and principal component
analysis, leads to an increase in the transparency of data and simplifies the interpretation. The use
of statistics and charts specific to that method provides the researcher with easy, intuitive reasoning
related to the interaction between the analyzed variables. In general, correspondence analysis is a
method for deconstructing the overall chi-square statistics by defining a system with a small number
of dimensions, in which the deviations from the expected values are presented.
The main aim of plotting the correspondence map is to reduce the number of analyzed
space dimensions by choosing such a low-dimensional subspace in which the chi-square distances
between points are shown with the greatest accuracy [
]. In this process, the singular value
decomposition (SVD) algorithm of the matrix decomposition, with respect to specific values,
is used [
]. The interpretation of the correspondence map allows the researcher to find the diversity
within the analyzed variable profiles, as well as the co-occurrence of different categories.
Sustainability 2018,10, 2688 9 of 24
It should be noted that correspondence analysis is an exploratory technique. In fact,
the development of this method emphasizes the search for models that describe empirical data
rather than rejecting hypotheses regarding lack of fit (see Benzecri’s “second rule” that “this model
should fit the data, not the other way round”). Therefore, there are no statistical significance tests
that would normally apply to the results of the correspondence analysis. The original purpose of this
technique is to create simplified (in a space with a small number of dimensions) mapping information
contained in a large contingency table (or analogous tables containing measures of the relationship
between feature variants).
In the analysis of the results, the significance of the correlation between non-measurable variables
was examined. The chi-square test was used for this purpose, and, in situations where the correlation
was found to be statistically stable, the strength of this correlation was determined using the Cramer
measure. In addition, relationships between variables were graphically presented using charts created
on the basis of cross-fertilization tables.
The basket analysis method [
] is one of the best-established approaches to data mining.
This method was used to find the relationships (associations) between the co-occurrence of results.
The result of the association process in the data is a set of association rules describing the dependencies
found in the following form: if event X occurs, then event Y occurs. Symbolically, an association rule
can be written as
IF X [predecessor] then Y [consequent],
If the element of the dataset “fits” the rule, that is, it fulfils all the conditions of the predecessor
and successor, it means that the rule contains this element; otherwise, the element supports the
association rule.
The following measures are used to assess the association rules [127]:
Support of rule (X
Y) means the ratio of the number of cases containing a given rule to all cases:
s(XY)=number of occurrences of X and Y
the number of all observations .
Confidence of rule (X
Y) means the ratio of the number of cases containing the rule to the
incidence of the variant X:
c(XY)=number of occurrences of X andY
the number of X observations in the set.
Before setting the association rules, minimum levels of support and confidence coefficients should
be determined, which results in finding only those rules that meet the given conditions.
4. Results and Discussion
In the first step of the analysis of the survey results, we identified relationships among the duration
of coopetition, its repeatability, the impact of coopetition on the development of the company, and the
assessment of the potential benefits. For this purpose, we used the correspondence analysis method,
which allows for the analysis of relationships between qualitative variables. In this part of the study,
the following variables and their variants were adopted:
duration of coopetition: t < 1, 1 t<3,3t<5,5t<7,t7;
repeatability of coopetition: very frequent, frequent, medium frequency, rare, one-time;
the impact of coopetition on company development: strongly facilitating, facilitating, impeding,
strongly impeding, without affecting the development of the company;
benefits of coopetition: very beneficial, beneficial, moderately beneficial, unfavorable.
Sustainability 2018,10, 2688 10 of 24
Using correspondence analysis, we identified four groups of enterprises on the correspondence
map (Figure 2).
Sustainability 2018, 10, x FOR PEER REVIEW 10 of 24
The results of the correspondence analysis indicate the relationships among the duration of
coopetition, its repetition, and the evaluation of the benefits of cooperation, which, in turn, influence
the development of the enterprise.
Figure 2. Correspondence map of relationships among variables characterizing the specificity of
The area of cooperation is important from the coopetition point of view. The researchers
analyzed nine areas of coopetition: R&D, supply, production or services, sales or distribution,
marketing, logistics, finance, IT, and human resources. In each area, the influence of time on the
effects of coopetition was examined.
The companies surveyed indicated specific benefits and losses in different areas occurring
during coopetition (Figures 3 and 4). The most frequently indicated benefits in R&D (reported by half
of the respondents) were the acquisition of unique knowledge, development of innovation, and cost
reduction. In the supply area of coopetition, the most frequently indicated benefit (51% of
respondents) was the reduction of costs, followed by access to resources (36% of respondents). The
dominant benefits (indicated by more than 30% of respondents) in the area of production/services
were cost reduction, specialization, access to resources, strengthening the position against other
competitors, and more efficient use of opportunities. Apart from the extension of the scale of
operations and the reduction of costs, the respondents most frequently reported the strengthening of
the position against competitors as the main benefit of coopetition in the area of sales/distribution.
In terms of marketing, the most popular benefits were access to resources, reduction of costs,
and the strengthening of one’s position against competitors. In turn, in the area of logistics, a
significant benefit for enterprises was the reduction of costs, including transaction costs. In the area
of finance, coopetitors indicated benefits associated with increasing the company’s value and
reducing costs.
In the next area of coopetition, namely IT, five quite frequently indicated benefits can be
distinguished: access to resources, strengthening the position against competitors, gaining unique
knowledge, reducing costs, and increasing innovation. Finally, in human-resources coopetition, the
most commonly indicated benefit was access to resources.
The frequency of the losses indicated in individual areas of coopetition was much lower than
the corresponding benefits (Figure 4). When analyzing the frequency of indications of particular
losses in the R&D area, one can distinguish two losses indicated by slightly more than 10% of
enterprises: the low effectiveness of jointly implemented processes and objectives, as well as a loss of
cooperation opportunities due to the exclusivity clause. In the case of the supply area, 10% of
Figure 2.
Correspondence map of relationships among variables characterizing the specificity
of coopetition.
The first group includes the enterprises that were involved in coopetition for the longest period
(over seven years), and whose cooperation can be characterized as frequent. These enterprises indicate
the highly beneficial effects of such cooperation, which strongly facilitate the functioning of the
company. The second group consists of enterprises which were operating in coopetition for three to
five years with frequent repeatability of coopetition. These companies often point to the beneficial
effects of such cooperation, which facilitate the functioning of the company. In the third group,
the effects of coopetition are moderately favorable. These companies include entities that rarely or
medium-frequently cooperate with coopetitors (from one to three years, or from five to seven years).
For these enterprises, coopetition has no impact on their development.
The results of the correspondence analysis indicate the relationships among the duration of
coopetition, its repetition, and the evaluation of the benefits of cooperation, which, in turn, influence
the development of the enterprise.
The area of cooperation is important from the coopetition point of view. The researchers analyzed
nine areas of coopetition: R&D, supply, production or services, sales or distribution, marketing,
logistics, finance, IT, and human resources. In each area, the influence of time on the effects of
coopetition was examined.
The companies surveyed indicated specific benefits and losses in different areas occurring during
coopetition (Figures 3and 4). The most frequently indicated benefits in R&D (reported by half of
the respondents) were the acquisition of unique knowledge, development of innovation, and cost
reduction. In the supply area of coopetition, the most frequently indicated benefit (51% of respondents)
was the reduction of costs, followed by access to resources (36% of respondents). The dominant benefits
(indicated by more than 30% of respondents) in the area of production/services were cost reduction,
specialization, access to resources, strengthening the position against other competitors, and more
efficient use of opportunities. Apart from the extension of the scale of operations and the reduction of
costs, the respondents most frequently reported the strengthening of the position against competitors
as the main benefit of coopetition in the area of sales/distribution.
In terms of marketing, the most popular benefits were access to resources, reduction of costs,
and the strengthening of one’s position against competitors. In turn, in the area of logistics, a significant
Sustainability 2018,10, 2688 11 of 24
benefit for enterprises was the reduction of costs, including transaction costs. In the area of finance,
coopetitors indicated benefits associated with increasing the company’s value and reducing costs.
In the next area of coopetition, namely IT, five quite frequently indicated benefits can be
distinguished: access to resources, strengthening the position against competitors, gaining unique
knowledge, reducing costs, and increasing innovation. Finally, in human-resources coopetition,
the most commonly indicated benefit was access to resources.
The frequency of the losses indicated in individual areas of coopetition was much lower than the
corresponding benefits (Figure 4). When analyzing the frequency of indications of particular losses
in the R&D area, one can distinguish two losses indicated by slightly more than 10% of enterprises:
the low effectiveness of jointly implemented processes and objectives, as well as a loss of cooperation
opportunities due to the exclusivity clause. In the case of the supply area, 10% of respondents
pointed to the low effectiveness of jointly implemented processes and goals, as well as the partner’s
opportunism—unethical behavior.
Figure 3. Cont.
Sustainability 2018,10, 2688 12 of 24
Sustainability2018,10,xFORPEERREVIEW 12of25
Figure 3. The frequency of benefits in the areas of coopetition.
According to entrepreneurs, the main loss that occurred during coopetition in the area of
sales/distribution was partner opportunism, i.e., unethical behavior; a quarter of all enterprises
indicated this loss. Coopetition in the marketing area brought losses mainly in the form of loss
of organizational and decision-making independence, as well as the low effectiveness of jointly
implemented processes and objectives (20% of indications each). In logistics, about 15% of respondents
claimed that losses resulted from investing in specific resources, i.e., those which were atypical for the
company and would be used only for this cooperation. In addition, 10% of respondents indicated a
loss of organizational and decision-making independence. In the area of finance, coopetition mostly
brought about three types of losses: the low efficiency of jointly implemented processes and objectives,
the decrease in the value of the company, and the weakening of the market position. This finding
indicates that companies entering coopetitive relationships should be careful when investing in specific
resources that they will not be able to use in the future without their competitor.
Unfavorable relationships between the effects of and expenditures on cooperation in relation to a
competitor were the most frequently reported losses in the area of IT. In turn, coopetition in the area of
human resources brought about a loss in the opinion of about 20% of respondents. This loss was based
on investment in specific resources, i.e., those that were atypical for the company and would only be
used for this cooperation.
Considering the quoted distributions of indicated benefits and losses which occurred during
coopetition in particular areas, it can definitely be emphasized that the benefits outweigh the losses
when cooperating with a competitor. However, the specific types of losses and benefits are determined
by the area of cooperation. Thus, Hypotheses 1 and 2 are supported.
Sustainability 2018,10, 2688 13 of 24
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Figure 4. Cont.
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Figure 4. The frequency of losses in the areas of coopetition.
When seeking a statistically significant relationship between duration of coopetition and an
evaluation of its effects in particular areas of cooperation, the chi-square test was used to verify the
hypotheses on the absence of a statistically significant relationship between qualitative variables.
We adopted the following indicators in this part of the analysis:
X1i—duration of coopetition in the i-th (i = 1, 2, . .. , 9) area: t < 1, 1 t<3,3t<5,5t<7,t7;
Y1i—result of coopetition in the i-th (i = 1, 2,
. . .
, 9) area: very large benefit, very little benefit, zero
effect, very little loss, very big loss.
Statistically, a significant relationship between the duration of coopetition and an evaluation of
its effects occurred in five areas: R&D, supply, sales/distribution, marketing, and finance (Table 1).
However, a statistically significant dependence (with a significance level of less than 0.05) occurred in
the case of supply and marketing. In the remaining areas, the plevel was not greater than 0.10.
The measure of the relationship between non-measurable variables was Cramer’s V coefficient,
which indicated moderately strong dependence in the case of the areas where the relationship was
statistically significant.
Table 1.
Dependence on the duration of coopetition and its effects in particular areas—chi-square test,
critical level of significance, Cramer’s V coefficient.
Area of Coopetition Chi-Square p-Value Cramer’s V Coefficient
R&D 20.9040 p= 0.0518 0.2897
Supply 38.6112 p= 0.0075 0.2897
Production/services 19.8615 p= 0.2265 no significant dependence
Sales/distribution 24.2292 p= 0.0846 0.2166
Marketing 23.5530 p= 0.0234 0.2788
Logistics 12.6121 p= 0.3979 no significant dependence
Finance 24.1711 p= 0.0858 0.2801
IT 20.5317 p= 0.1972 no significant dependence
Human resources 17.9265 p= 0.3282 no significant dependence
Sustainability 2018,10, 2688 15 of 24
In order to identify dependences on the duration of cooperation and the assessment of its effects,
maps of correspondences for particular areas were created. In the case of areas of coopetition where
the dependence was statistically significant, the identified relationships were marked (Figure 5).
Enterprises that were cooperating with competitors in the R&D area the longest (from five to seven
years, or more than seven years) more often reported very large benefits. However, those enterprises
that cooperated with rivals for a period of less than one year reported zero effects of coopetition. This
is in line with the results of previous research related to R&D coopetition [128].
Those enterprises that cooperated the longest in terms of supply reported very large benefits from
coopetition (a chi-square test revealed a statistically significant difference in the map of correspondence).
Those enterprises that were cooperating from one to three years more often reported very little benefit,
while coopetition in the supply area lasting from three to five years often brought zero effect to
those enterprises.
In the production area, relationships between the duration of cooperation and an assessment
of the effects were not observed on the correspondence map (chi-square test results are reported in
Table 1).
In the sales/distribution area, we may notice that those enterprises that were cooperating for
the shortest period of time (under one year) more often reported zero effects of coopetition. When
coopetition lasted from three to five years in this area, firms reported both very little and very
significant benefit; however, in periods of cooperation lasting from five to seven years, the enterprises
often registered minimal loss.
In the marketing area, the assessment of the effects of coopetition was extremely interesting,
because, in terms of relatively short coopetition lasting from one to three years, its effect was considered
to bring very little benefit. In the following time period (from three to five years), coopetition
brought zero effect; however, coopetition lasting the longest (over seven years) brought the enterprises
significant benefits.
In the logistics area, a clear relationship between the duration of coopetition and the assessment
of effects was not observed. This means that the enterprises cooperating in coopetition in terms of
logistics had different assessments that did not depend on the duration of cooperation (variants of the
assessment of coopetition effects were spread throughout the map of correspondence).
Rival firms cooperating in the finance area for periods of between three and five years often
reported a very minor loss. However, if coopetition in the finance area lasted over seven years, it
brought highly significant benefits to the enterprises. Those enterprises that cooperated with others
from one to three years observed very little benefit in this area.
In the other two areas, i.e., IT and human resources, there was no statistically significant
relationship between the duration of coopetition and the evaluation of its effects, as demonstrated by
the chi-square test. However, from the correspondence maps we can see that enterprises cooperating
in the IT area for over seven years often assessed the effects of coopetition as highly beneficial, while
zero effects were more often indicated by enterprises that were cooperating for three to five years.
In the area of human resources, companies which were cooperating for one to three years and for
over seven years reported very large benefits. Zero effect of coopetition in the area of human resources
was indicated by enterprises which were cooperating from three to five years, while enterprises which
were cooperating for less than one year often indicated very little benefit.
The examination of statistically significant correlations between the duration of coopetition and
the assessment of effects, and a detailed correspondence analysis of coopetition assessments over time
in all areas, indicated differences in the assessment of coopetition depending on duration in different
areas of coopetition. Therefore, Hypothesis 3 is supported.
Sustainability 2018,10, 2688 16 of 24
Sustainability 2018, 10, x FOR PEER REVIEW 17 of 26
Figure 5. Correspondence maps showing the relationships between duration of coopetition and the assessment of coopetition effects in individual areas.
Sustainability 2018,10, 2688 17 of 24
Furthermore, we recognized association rules linking the duration of coopetition and the
associated benefit or loss. The low number of indicated losses made it impossible to identify many
association rules between the duration of cooperation and the loss indicated. More frequently,
the association rules identified related to the duration and benefits of cooperation. Association
rules with confidence indicators of greater than 30% are reported (Table 2).
Table 2. Association rules in particular areas of coopetition.
(Duration of
==> Consequence (Benefit/Loss) Support (%) Confidence (%)
1 5 t < 7 ==> Increase in innovativeness 10.8434 69.2308
2 t 7 ==> Cost reduction 12.0482 58.8235
3 t 7 ==> Acquiring unique knowledge 12.0482 58.8235
4 t 7 ==> Increase in innovativeness 10.8434 52.9412
1 1 t < 3 ==> Access to resources 13.9130 53.3333
2 3 t < 5 ==> Reduction of transaction costs 11.3044 37.1429
3 t 7 ==> Cost reduction 13.9130 59.2593
1 1 t < 3 ==> Access to resources 13.5135 51.2821
2 3 t < 5 ==>
Strengthening the position against
other competitors 11.4865 48.5714
3 3 t < 5 ==> Extending the scale of operations 10.8108 45.7143
4 t 7 ==> Cost reduction 12.8378 50.0000
1 3 t < 5 ==> Increase in company value 11.6279 46.8750
2 3 t < 5 ==> Extending the scale of operations 10.0775 40.6250
3 t 7 ==> Cost reduction 10.0775 34.2105
1 1 t < 3 ==> Access to resources 10.8911 35.4839
2 3 t < 5 ==> Loss of independence 10.8911 35.4839
1 1 t < 3 ==> Acquiring unique knowledge 7.14286 37.5000
2 5 t < 7 ==> Reduction of transaction costs 5.95238 45.4546
3 5 t < 7 ==> Extending the scale of operations 5.95238 45.4546
4 t 7 ==> Cost reduction 9.5238 34.7826
1 3 t < 5 ==> Cost reduction 14.2857 52.3810
1 3 t < 5 ==> Access to resources 11.7647 40.0000
2 3 t < 5 ==> Increase in innovativeness 11.7647 40.0000
3 5 t < 7 ==> Cost reduction 10.5882 52.9412
4 t 7 ==> Acquiring unique knowledge 10.5882 40.9091
Human resources
1 1 t < 3 ==> Access to resources 10.7692 58.3333
2 3 t < 5 ==> Increase in company value 12.3077 33.3333
3 3 t < 5 ==> Reduction of the transaction costs 12.3077 33.3333
4 3 t < 5 ==> Access to new markets 12.3077 33.3333
Sustainability 2018,10, 2688 18 of 24
In the R&D area, one can see that coopetition lasting up to five to seven years (or longer) more
frequently brought about the occurrence of benefits in the form of increased innovation. Coopetition
lasting more than seven years implied lower costs or the acquisition of unique knowledge. In turn,
associative rules in the supply area indicated that access to resources was a more frequently indicated
benefit if coopetition lasted from one to three years. In the case of longer coopetition (three to five years),
the main benefit was the reduction of transaction costs, and, when coopetition lasted more than seven
years, the main benefit was cost reduction. This finding is also in line with expectations and previous
research [
]. The R&D sphere is characterized by a long-term nature, delays, unpredictability of the
new product development cycle, and other factors [130].
The probability that access to resources will be an advantage in coopetitive relationships lasting
between one and three years is over 50% in the area of production/services. If the duration of the
relationship is between three and five years, one can expect the strengthening of a firm’s position
against competitors and the expansion of the scale of its operations. In turn, the reduction of costs may
occur during coopetition lasting over seven years. In sales/distribution, coopetition lasting from three
to five years leads to an over 40% chance that there will be an advantage in the form of an increase
in the company’s value or the expansion of the scale of its operations. If coopetition in this area lasts
more than seven years, a reduction of costs may be expected.
In the area of marketing, two association rules were distinguished, for which the level of trust
was 35%. If cooperation lasts for one to three years, we have a 35% degree of certainty that there will
be an advantage in the form of access to the markets, whereas coopetition from three to five years may
generate a loss in the form of the loss of the company’s independence.
Four association rules were identified in the area of logistics. Cooperation lasting from one to
three years gives an opportunity to acquire unique knowledge. If cooperation lasts longer (five to
seven years), advantages in the form of a reduction of transaction costs and extending the scale of
operations may arise. In terms of the longest-lasting coopetition in the logistics sphere, a benefit in the
form of cost reduction was observed.
In turn, coopetition in the area of finance lasting from three to five years gives a more than 50%
probability that there will be a reduction of costs.
In the next area of coopetition, namely IT, we had four association rules, the first two of which are
related to the time of cooperation lasting from three to five years: access to resources and an increase
in innovation were the most frequent benefits indicated. If coopetition lasts from five to seven years,
there is an over 50% probability of cost reduction. In turn, coopetition for longer than seven years
may bring the benefit of acquiring unique knowledge. This means that knowledge exchange and
knowledge building in the IT sphere takes time. On one hand, partners must build trust to share
valuable knowledge; on the other hand, tacit knowledge is not easily codified and it takes time (over
seven years) before knowledge is transferred to competitors.
In the area of human resources, a shorter time of coopetition (from one to three years) gives a
more than 50% chance of access to resources, whereas cooperation in this area lasting from three to
five years generates an increase in the company’s value, lower transaction costs, and access to new
markets. This finding is in line with previous research [
], in that firms cooperate with competitors
in terms of filling the gaps in human resources. Such gaps are relatively short-term (1–3 years).
Summarizing the association rules presented, it should be stated that, in many areas of coopetition,
the reduction of costs is a frequent benefit during long-term cooperation with a competitor. On the
other hand, short-term coopetition makes it possible to achieve various benefits, including access to
resources or acquiring unique knowledge. The use of association rules in the analysis of benefits and
losses resulting from coopetition allows one to state that the time of cooperation determines the type
of benefits and losses indicated, which confirms the fourth research hypothesis.
Sustainability 2018,10, 2688 19 of 24
5. Conclusions
Coopetition is rapidly becoming a key success factor for enterprises operating in the contemporary
business world. The importance of the coopetition phenomenon increased with the development
of globalization processes, especially at the level of sectors and particular corporations. Coopetitive
relationships are characterized mostly in the context of the benefits achieved; however, coopetition is
fraught with disadvantages arising mostly from competition between competitors. The time factor also
plays an important role in these coopetitive relationships. Given these facts, the goal of the paper was
to analyze the benefits and costs of coopetition vs. the scope and time of the durability of cooperation
between competitors. The presentation of the unique quantitative research related to this topic may
be regarded as evidence of the originality of the paper. Using data gathered through the analysis
of 210 companies operating in the high-tech sector in Poland, our findings brought very broadly
diversified results, allowing us to test the formulated hypotheses.
Our study contributes to the knowledge base in several ways. Firstly, though this research adopts
a single-country approach, analyzing high-tech companies operating in Poland gives us the possibility
of comparing the results with other sectors of the economy, e.g., traditional ones. Simultaneously,
these enterprises represented a diversified sample due to the different branches of the high-tech sector.
In addition, this detailed analysis may become a substantial advantage allowing us to formulate
hypotheses to be verified in the context of other industries and countries. Secondly, given the growing
role of coopetition in any aspect of a business, as well as non-business activities, one should expect that
many decision makers would have to take this growing trend into account if they wish to help achieve
sustainable development in business. The results of this study can offer guidance to companies willing
to obtain specific benefits from coopetition.
Our study had several limitations, the first of which was the analysis of only one sector existing
in one country. Secondly, in this study, we explored the duration of coopetitive arrangements without
taking the initial temporal orientation of partners into account. Future studies may cover this gap and
explore the influence of the duration of cooperative ventures on the results of coopetitive alliances
for partners with both a short-term and long-term orientation. We also did not differentiate whether
cooperative ventures were dissolved naturally or due to internal tensions. Researchers dealing with
this topic may be interested in addressing these issues and comparing the time factor, as well as
the benefits and drawbacks of coopetitive alliances that dissolved naturally and those which were
terminated unplanned. In addition, we did not consider the influence of external factors, such as
market conditions [
] or industrial cycles [
], that potentially led to the unplanned termination of
alliances. Thirdly, our study was quantitative, whereas a qualitative approach might be used in future
research to explore the in-depth benefits and drawbacks that coopetitive ventures have, the reasons for
their termination, and how the longevity of cooperation influenced the results achieved.
The methods used for data analysis did not allow us to test the influence of control variables (i.e.,
the firm’s age, size, or industrial affiliation). In other words, these limitations need to be addressed in
future research. Furthermore, future studies might explore sustainability-related coopetition strategies
with respect to the social, economic, and environmental benefits for companies.
Despite the limitations presented, we believe that the results achieved allowed us to obtain a
true picture of the situation in the analyzed sector. To the best of our knowledge, such research is
relatively rare (due to the sensitive nature of the sectors analyzed), not only in this country, but also on
an international scale.
Author Contributions:
All authors contributed significantly to the completion of this manuscript. J.C. designed
the concept of the paper and wrote the main part of the literature review. W.S. and M.S. contributed to the
theoretical review, conclusions, as well as limitations of the study. In addition, W.S. prepared the final version of
the manuscript. In turn, K.D. made all the statistical calculations.
This paper is an output of the scientific project supported by the Ministry of Science and Higher
Education in Poland (research grant no. NN 115 006040).
Conflicts of Interest: The authors declare no conflict of interest.
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... stimulation of innovation, firm performance, relational outcomes Cygler, Sroka, Solesvik & Debkowska, 2018), economic and knowledge related value (Volschenk, et al., 2016), amongst other. According to , different outcomes arises from coopetition such as increased competitiveness and competitive advantages, development of technological innovations (Cygler et. al 2018), exploration of international opportunities, and access to needed resources. Coopetition further enhances knowledge acquisition and knowledge creation (Huang & Yu, 2011;Li et al., 2011;Zhang et al., 2010); market extension, technology development and cost reductions. ...
... unique private resources. This balance stimulates knowledge seeking, market expansion, and technological progress . In accordance with the resource-based concept, enterprises create coopetitive relationships in order to jointly create intangible assets, and use their knowledge, cooperation, and skills to increase the efficiency of the organization (Cygler, et. al. 2018). ...
... Considering the growing complexity of the environment, coopetition becomes the chance for the company's survival and sustainable development (Cygler, et. al. 2018). This however requires the firms to confront and manage the simultaneous and paradoxical interactions between cooperation and competition (Gnyawali et al., 2016). ...
Conference Paper
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Studies on coopetition have gained research interest over the last three decades. Coopetition refers to a complex structure of firms' interdependence where cooperation and competition are simultaneously present and intertwined, also defined as simultaneous pursuit of cooperation and competition between firms. The tourism industry consists of diversified categories of SMEs that operate in close proximity and are interdependent due to limited resources; competing and cooperating becomes ineludible. This paradox has led researchers to explore the drivers or motivations, as well as outcomes of coopetition. Drivers are classified under external drivers relating to industry factors, relation-specific and internal drivers. There are inevitable tensions generated by the coopetition phenomena. Paradoxes emerging from inter-organizational relationships surface from competing goals and demands, hence the tension. This paper determined drivers and outcomes of coopetition at the inter-organizational level among small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the tourism industry at Lüderitz through in-depth interviews and ethnographic methodology. External drivers such as geographic proximity, customer preferences or needs and credibility, and, relation-specific drivers such as location, trust and commitment were the dominant determinants of coopetition. The outcomes of coopetition include customer satisfaction, enhanced destination image, cost saving, information sharing, enhanced innovation, access to required resources and firm growth. A main challenge uncovered is the lack of joint marketing of Lüderitz as a destination which impede the long-term competitiveness and success of the destination. There is a dominant cooperative culture of coopetitive relationships which alludes to coopetition capability of businesses to maintain moderate levels of tension for best alliance performance.
... Researchers have stated different definitions for coopetition [2,4]. However, the varying definitions share a commonality: coopetition is a relationship between companies in the same industry that simultaneously involves cooperation and competition [2,[6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13]. Coopetition is based on the notion that competitors can make for the best partners because they share common interests and the same contexts while having resources useful to other companies in the same market [1,12,14]. ...
... Industrial boundaries have recently begun to fade, and companies are increasingly moving beyond their traditional business boundaries to expand their scope by introducing new products and opening new business opportunities [4]. These phenomena of fading industrial boundaries and increasing inter-organizational relationships are common in high-tech industries due to challenges related to constant technology developments and R&D activities [13,15]. These changes can be clearly seen in the semiconductor industry. ...
... Fading industrial boundaries and fundamental changes in traditional technology sectors triggered by technology convergence have led to hyper-coopetition between companies in heterogeneous industries [4,18,42]. Through hyper-coopetition, companies seek external help from other companies with common interests in the market [8,13,15,43]. In hyper-coopetition, companies either make partnerships with companies in different industries, acquire companies in different industries, or acquire companies that have capabilities to extend their value creation potential, as well as the range of prospective target markets [3,18,19,21,22]. ...
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In this study, we proposed the concept of hyper-coopetition based on an investigation of the inter-organizational relationships of chipmakers. Hyper-coopetition is distinguished from traditional coopetition by having companies in heterogeneous industries as participants, whereas traditional coopetition is a relationship between competitors in the same industry. To investigate antecedents and processes of hyper-coopetition, we established the conceptual framework of hyper-coopetition through a literature review. We conducted a case study on leading chipmakers, including Intel, Samsung, and Nvidia, to investigate antecedents and processes of the chipmakers’ hyper-coopetition. By examining hyper-coopetition, we contributed to the relevant academic field by introducing hyper-coopetition, its typology, and a new research agenda. The analysis result also brought managerial implications for companies in a rapidly changing environment.
... To achieve major breakthroughs in sustainability, competing firms need to cooperate, as well as collaborate (Cygler et al., 2018;Scandelius and Cohen, 2016). This simultaneous cooperation and competition between firms is referred to as co-opetition and has become an appealing strategy for more efficiently leveraging complementary resources (Gernsheimer et al., 2021;Kumar et al., 2017). ...
... The question is "Are you and your partner competing with the same market?" (No, Yes) Co-opetition alignment for Innovation Ritala (2012) Single-item, discrete, unidimensional A single-item variable co-opetition alignment is measured by dividing the number of a firm's alliances with competitors by its total number of alliances Conceptualising value creation in inter-firm coopetitive alliances Rai (2016) Multi-item, continuous, multidimensional Three dimensions construct and a 17-item multi-dimensional scale of value creation in co-opetitive alliances Co-opetition is a multiple-item, multi-dimensional construct, comprising three distinct dimensions (local-level coopetition, national-level co-opetition and organisation-level co-opetition) Co-opetitive experience Park et al. (2014b) Single-item, discrete, unidimensional A single item, discrete variable co-opetition experience is measured by the accumulated number of alliances with competitors (partners belonging to the same four-digit industry code) to the year prior to the start of the focal alliance value among partner firms, the need to communicate effectively with regulators on public policy and achieving the requisite level of corporate-level sustainability performance (Bouncken and Kraus, 2013;Christ et al., 2017;Cygler et al., 2018;DiVito and Sharma, 2016;Glavi c and Lukman, 2007;Scandelius and Cohen, 2016;Volschenk et al., 2016). Moreover, existing literature suggests that there are various roles that stakeholders (including competing firms) play towards managing CSR and sustainability activities (Banerjee, 2002;Galbreath and Shum, 2012;Rasche et al., 2013;Wirl et al., 2013). ...
Purpose This study aims to set out to develop and validate a new instrument to measure the multi-dimensional nature of co-opetition in corporate responsibility and sustainability (CRS). It is anticipated that this instrument will prove useful to firms wanting to adopt measures that support relevant sustainability strategies. Design/methodology/approach The scale development concerns three separate components, namely, item generation through expert interviews; a pilot study conducted for scale purification; and a final study for scale confirmation and validation, respectively. The final study comprises 215 firms across 11 sectors in Australia that engage in co-opetitive alliances for CRS activities. Findings This study empirically validates the distinctiveness of three dimensions (commonality-driven, competition-driven and collaboration-driven) of co-opetition in relation to CRS resulting in a 15-item multi-dimensional scale. The three dimensions were found to be important aspects both in terms of scale validity and organisational consideration. Research limitations/implications This study proposes a new research area regarding the proposed framework, as well as practical strategies for practitioners when considering co-opetition and their firm’s engagement in CRS activities. Originality/value Prior studies in similar areas have mainly comprised conceptual or qualitative approaches and do not tend to focus on all three aspects of co-opetition, corporate social responsibility and sustainability.
... This illustration has to do with existing relationships and trust, where both prove to be central to successful alliances (Jha & Cottam, 2021). The time horizon has been raised as an important factor in coopetition research (e.g., Bengtsson et al., 2016;Cygler et al., 2016), but empirical research is still scarce. Mathias et al. (2018) state that coopetition may not necessarily dissipate over time but may continue if it was not formed for financial motives only. ...
Coopetition entails tensions inherent to collaboration with competitors. This paper focuses on the coopetition formation stage and its effects on the development of tensions. We performed interviews with executives of coopeting firms, create case studies of organizations that initiate and execute coopetition agreements for other firms, and then study firms engaged in mutual coopetition. While this study confirms previous findings that coopetition formation can be deliberate or emergent, it also reveals that the two approaches differ in strategy development patterns, which influence the type and intensity of tensions, as well as the scope and sustainability of the coopetition. The deliberate approach mainly includes tensions due to lack of trust, knowledge exposure and cultural gaps, and the scope and timeframe of the coopetition are clearly delimited. Previous acquaintance and existing trust correspond to a lower intensity of tensions for the emergent approach, and the scope and timeframe are open for extension.
... The literature also raises issues related to the benefits of coopetition. The analysis of the benefits draws its inspiration not only from theoretical foundationstransaction cost theory, game theory, and the resource-based approach [Czakon, Mucha-Kuś & Rogalski 2014] -but also from cooperation experiences and strategic alliances, especially horizontal ones [Cygler, Sroka, Solesvik & Dębkowska 2018]. Considering this assumption, one may conclude that coopetitive alliances are promising if the coopetitive partners are reciprocally able to extend the overall value compared to the value they could otherwise capture on their own. ...
Full-text available
We present a book entitled Innovation in Organisational Management Under Conditions of Sustainable Development. It is widely accepted that innovation is a key driver of sustainability. Similarly, in the present discourse, no one questions whether innovation is a necessary com- ponent of managerial processes at all organisational levels. Yet in a world where the need for sustainable development has become brutally evident, there are not many truly innovative companies and only a very few truly sustainable companies. Sustainable and innovative companies are as rare as mythical unicorns. One can try to explain this situation by concluding that it is already a challenge in itself to understand the interdependences between the social, economic, and en- vironmental dimensions while running a business. It is even more difficult to apply the so-called Triple Bottom Line (TBL) concept, which suggests that equal consid- eration should be given to financial, environmental, and social dimensions when making business and policy decisions. As a result, a question arises concerning the rationale behind attempts to in- troduce such complexity. Would it not be wiser to focus on maximising economic goals and take a passive approach to social and environmental dimensions by con- sidering them to be boundary conditions? Companies can create economic value through the adoption of more sustainable processes and practices; through the design and marketing of products or services which utilise so-called green technologies1 (e.g. electric vehicles); or by providing services which utilise an innovative mix of green and regular technologies in order to solve sustainability issues. Therefore, sustainable development can be promoted either through business practices or a company’s products and services, or both2. Implementing innovations that improve the ability to learn, manage and re- spond to environmental stimuli from dynamic socio-ecological structures makes it possible to move away from unsustainable trajectories. Various theoretical and G. H. Elmo et al. (2020). Sustainability in tourism as an innovation driver: an analysis of family business 1 reality. Sustainability 12(15), pp. 6149. M. Leach, J. Rockström, P. Raskin, I. Scoones, A. C. Stirling, A. Smith ... E. Arond et al. (2012). 2 Transforming innovation for sustainability. Ecology and Society, (17), pp. 11–18. 7 INTRODUCTION practical approaches to sustainability agree that improving it implies change, inno- vation or adaptation to its environment. The aim of sustainability is no longer just a sustainable state; instead, it is a process of constant improvement of the sustain- ability of “artefacts”. A dynamic perspective encourages discussion concerning the identification and handling of constant changes3. The ability to innovate has become necessary for companies and takes the form of incremental or radical innovations. Business model innovation, therefore, rep- resents a potential means of integrating sustainability into a business. Consequently, an innovative and sustainable business model should adapt the company’s profit- ability to the economic and non-economic benefits for society. On the other hand, the ever-changing market requirements gradually force businesses to adapt and change in order to improve quality and become more efficient, flexible, innovative and knowledge-driven. This explains why innovation, as a process by which an in- dividual or a business learns and develops knowledge, contributes even more to sustainability in the organisational context. Based on this premise, the authors de- cided to explore the interlinked realms of innovation and sustainability. As the authors realise that sustainable development is a pressing issue that requires immediate action from governments, industries, and society as a whole, we have made an effort to focus on innovations that can transform individuals, organisations, supply chains, and communities, and can move them towards a sustainable future. With the aim of improved sustainability, this book deals with organisational in- novation from a broad perspective, including product and process innovation. The monograph consists of 12 chapters. In chapter 1, Elżbieta Lorek presents the issues of building a green economy based on the principles of sustainable development, focused mainly on the positive economic effects of green transformation. In chapter 2, Izabela Karwala describes how acceleration programmes can serve as a source of innovation for organisations. This is particularly important today, as such programmes now have a well-established position in the business environment. In chapter 3, Dawid Żebrak focuses on the concept of sustainable human re- source management, with a particular focus on the employment of prisoners. In chapter 4, Monika Płońska’s research focuses on the challenges of sustain- able development in the Polish chemical industry in the context of the European Commission’s guidelines on the disclosure of non-financial climate information, especially given that time is running short. In chapter 5, Jakub Stęchły shows an example of a car-sharing company whose business model is based on the principles of the sharing economy. This is an inter- esting example of an attempt to combine sustainability and innovation in various areas. In chapter 6, Karolina Mucha-Kuś explains the benefits of an innovative ap- proach to integrating a public bicycle system in a metropolitan area, and the stake- holders’ approach to this project from the perspective of coopetition. In chapter 7, Grzegorz Kinelski makes an effort to identify the relationship be- tween sustainable development, project management and the digital economy. Conclusions are drawn which could be relevant not only to the energy sector but to all kinds of enterprises. In chapter 8, Grzegorz Kinelski and Wojciech Muras deal with managing invest- ment decisions whilst taking non-financial measures into account. Such measures are essential when introducing sustainable development metrics into the strategic controlling process. In chapter 9, Krzysztof Zamasz depicts how political decisions aimed at ensur- ing the sustainability of energy production affect energy companies. Day-to-day business decisions in energy companies are becoming increasingly complex due to increased volatility and uncertainty as the regulatory regime tries to maintain a bal- ance in the market whilst complying with decarbonisation goals and fulfilling the role of the state in providing energy security. In chapter 10, Maria Schulders addresses concerns regarding the mental health of university students by exploring the applicability of self-authorship in higher education processes. She points out that universities should construct a system- ic framework by which students are aided in the development of core values and self-concordant goals. It can be argued that such an approach is not only a prereq- uisite for students’ mental health and well-being, but also for reaching the full in- novative potential of individuals and educational institutions. INTRODUCTION 9 INTRODUCTION In chapter 11, Katarzyna Szczepańska-Woszczyna, Wojciech Muras and Marta Pikiewicz venture into aspects of long-term value creation in IT companies, tak- ing into account the role of shareholders. IT companies constitute the backbone of development of the knowledge economy but are subject to innovative managerial processes themselves, while the conceptualisation and internalisation of the role of shareholders is critical for the long-term sustainability of the organisation. In chapter 12, Michał Gramatyka presents the management of election cam- paigns in light of project management and focuses on finding the answer to the fol- lowing question: are project management practices translatable into the language of politics? We hope that our book will be a source of valuable knowledge for business prac- titioners, academic researchers, and all stakeholders for whom the concepts of sus- tainable development and innovation are important. We have prepared this mono- graph in the hope that readers will find it useful either for the purpose of making their innovative organisations more sustainable or making their sustainable organ- isations more innovative. Katarzyna Szczepańska-Woszczyna Krzysztof Zamasz Grzegorz Kinelski Editors
... As firms collaborate, they do not let go of their original nature but interact with other firms in the same industry with some level of rivalry. Cygler et al. (2018) note that coopetition increases a firm's capacity to be more innovative, efficient, understand why their rivals undertake specific actions in the industry and do not weaken a firm's ability to compete. Jankowska (2010) argues that although the coopetition relationship is seen as opposite behaviour, it is pivotal for sustaining a firm's survival and competitiveness. ...
... Rusko (2011) Quantitative Coopetition can also (among other opportunities) contribute to long-term sustainability by reusing waste as raw material. Cygler, Sroka, Solesvik, and Dębkowska (2018) Quantitative Coopetition is more beneficial (in terms of corporate sustainability) if it is organized on a longer-term basis, but it is more associated with failures in short-term interactions. Sellitto, Pereira, Marques, and Lacerda (2018) Qualitative ...
*****Full version here:****** Scholars highlight the potential gains of collaboration between competitors for supporting sustainability but there is a lack of both theoretical and empirical studies. In this thesis I aim to enhance the understanding of 'coopetition for sustainability', which I define as 'an inter-firm phenomenon where actors from the same industry simultaneously cooperate and compete with the intent to achieve environmental, economic, and social benefits'. By investigating the process and outcomes of coopetition for sustainability I develop several analytical tools for the systematic exploration of the coopetitive interaction for reaching sustainability goals and show that coopetition for sustainability raises numerous knotted paradoxical tensions. I further reveal organizing and regulating mechanisms that actors use to address these tensions, and which can motivate greater extents of sustainability in terms of outcomes. This thesis consists of six appended papers (two conceptual, two qualitative, and two quantitative) that explore coopetition for sustainability in three contextual settings (Swedish, Polish, and Belarusian housing). Collectively, the papers span several theoretical frameworks (paradox theory, sustainable value, modern portfolio theory) and methodological approaches (system dynamics, in-depth case study, survey questionnaires). Overall, my explorations in this thesis show that whilst coopetition for sustainability is a complex, tension filled phenomenon, it has great potential to advance sustainability in both theory and practice. I contribute to theory by generating novel insights into: (i) The process of coopetition for sustainability showing how actors organize collaboration for sustainability and how they respond to paradoxical tensions they frequently experience; (ii) The outcomes of coopetition for sustainability, which I systematically conceptualize and model. I also offer several implications for practice that can help managers to navigate the process of coopetition for sustainability in order to enhance economic, social and environmental outcomes.
Coopetition has been the topic of a widespread discussion in the recent years. However, not all problems and types of the coopetition have been sufficiently recognized. Research on the interfirm coopetition is very well developed, whereas intrafirm coopetition is still emerging. The study fulfills this gap by exploring in the quantitative manner the intensity and areas of the coopetition within 81 multinational corporations (MNCs). It is one among few studies concerning the coopetition within MNCs and it complements the previous studies on relations between subsidiaries within whole MNCs. Findings of the study reveal that between subsidiaries, like between independent firms, the mixture of cooperation and competition can be found. However, the cooperation prevails and the competition is not a frequent relation. Thus, the dominant type of coopetition within MNCs is the cooperation-driven coopetition. Additionally, the study finds that the cooperation emerges in primary and support activities, whereas the competition mainly in support activities of the value chain. Consequently, the study provides better understanding of coopetitive relations between subsidiaries within MNCs and expands knowledge on the intrafirm coopetition by underlining the differences between interand intrafirm coopetition.
Public libraries are increasingly becoming affected by invasive and disruptive technology, changing customer requirements, and other information sources that provide comparable library services. The dilemma of public libraries is clear, as seen by falling government financing and patronage. In order to maintain their position in the face of intense competition, they must react promptly. Librarians will not be able to properly prepare for the future or position themselves unless they strengthen their stance in the information competition by cooperating and competing simultaneously. To remain relevant, librarians must re-strategize and consider how to deliver services using smart technologies. The article suggests that it is expedient for public libraries to adopt coopetition to survive amidst fierce competing service models from the tech industry.
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The article aims to explain the concept of co-opetition and its significance for inter-organizational networks and to illustrate this concept on the select-ed examples. The article is of a demonstrative character. The author used literature studies, own observations and the Internet query. For theoreti-cal exposure of the defined concept case studies of networks operating in the food sector have been used. In the light of the observations should be assumed that co-opetition is an inherent feature of network relationships, regardless of their size, maturity or sector in which they operate.
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The purpose of this article is to analyze coopetitive behavior of companies operating in oil and gas distribution networks, enhancing both conceptual clarity of the concept and understanding of its specifics in oil and gas industry. We developed a model based on six factors: intensity, functionality, formalism, benefits, tension and stability to investigate 10 research hypothesis on a sample consisting of 154 subjects from 39 companies. By its conceptualization and results, our study is one of the first focusing on coopetitive behavior in oil and gas distribution and contributes to shape coopetition as a distinct subject for research.
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Coopetition (simultaneous cooperation and competition between competitors) is rapidly becoming a key success factor for enterprises operating in the contemporary business world. The literature on coopetition characterizes these relationships mostly in the context of the benefits achieved; however, coopetition is fraught with threats arising mainly from both the coexistence and interaction of streams of cooperation and competition between competitors. Research on a sample of 235 companies operating in the high technology sector (HT) in Poland has shown that there is a number of risks accompanying coopetition. The most common amongst them are the low efficiency of activities and goals pursued (statistically significant for all the activities of the value chain as areas of cooperation). The areas of coopetition that are most exposed to risk are sales and distribution, logistics and finance (nine out of 12 risks analysed). Due to the similarity of the frequency of occurrence of particular threats to coopetition, and using the method of cluster analysis, four groups of value chain areas with similar risks have been identified. The first such group is finance and marketing, the second is sales and production, the third is human resources and logistics, and finally the fourth is information technology, purchasing inputs and R&D. When selecting the area of competitive cooperation corresponding to the individual clusters of the value chain activities, one may expect the occurrence of similar threats to coopetition. The research findings allow interested parties to predict threats to coopetition when choosing specific areas of cooperation and thus an extension to cooperation between competitors which will not increase the quantity of these threats. © 2017, Kauno Technologijos Universitetas. All rights reserved.
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This research focuses on the role of trust and the impact of its level on the revenue, earnings before tax and the degree of flexibility of logistics service providers (LSPs). More specifically, the role of the executive manager is examined in relation to the impact of business relationships (trust levels) within and between organizations. In addition, the analysis covers the development of revenue, earnings before tax and degree of flexibility of logistics service providers in the context of the role of the head manager. The data were collected from 51 logistics service providers in Hungary. The results show that the level of trust established in the organization (with the employees, co-workers etc.) has a positive impact on the earnings before tax. Furthermore, this paper confirms that the trust executive managers establish around them is an important performance factor which even consumers perceive and that it has major significance in terms of degree of flexibility. This research further increases our understanding of the role and importance of trust as a strategic success factor for LSPs.
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This paper examines the specific impacts of market-oriented coopetition on product commercial performance. Indeed, most contributions have focused on technology-driven coopetition with cooperation on activities that are far from the market (e.g., production, R&D), whereas most coopetitive agreements involve market-oriented coopetition in which the cooperation arises in activities that are close to the market (e.g., marketing, distribution). We first present the specificities of market-oriented coopetition and distinguish horizontal and vertical market-oriented coopetition. We then focus on the performance implications of market-oriented coopetition. Building on social network exchange theory, we elaborate a theoretical framework detailing the mechanisms through which market-oriented coopetition affects product commercial performance. Using a database from the real estate brokerage industry, we validate our hypotheses that horizontal market-oriented coopetition enhances product commercial performance compared to competition, whereas vertical market-oriented coopetition does not. Furthermore, we highlight the existence of a learning effect for horizontal market-oriented coopetition. This research contributes to coopetition theory by defining market-oriented coopetition and studying its performance implications.
We show how the tension between cooperation and competition affects the dynamics of learning alliances. ‘Private benefits’ and ‘common benefits’ differ in the incentives that they create for investment in learning. The competitive aspects of alliances are most severe when a firm's ratio of private to common benefits is high. We introduce a measure, ‘relative scope’ of a firm in an alliance, to show that the opportunity set of each firm outside an alliance crucially impacts its behavior within the alliance. Finally, we suggest why firms might deviate from the theoretically optimal behavior patterns. © 1998 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
I argue that the linkage‐formation propensity of firms is explained by simultaneously examining both inducement and opportunity factors. Drawing upon resource‐based and social network theory literatures I identify three forms of accumulated capital—technical, commercial , and social —that can affect a firm’s inducements and opportunities to form linkages. Firms possessing these capital stocks enjoy advantages in linkages formation. However, firms lacking these accumulated resources can still form linkages if they generate a radical technological breakthrough. Thus, I identify paths to linkage formation for leading as well as peripheral firms. I test these arguments with longitudinal data on technical collaborative linkages in the global chemicals industry. Copyright © 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.