Uncertainty, Adaptation, and Alliance Performance
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IEEE We conceptualize alliance adaptation as a bundle of governance-based change practices in ongoing alliances, including contractual alterations, ownership change, board change, monitoring mechanism change, and key personnel turnover. Leveraging a transaction cost perspective, we investigate how changing environmental conditions (i.e., demand uncertainty and technological uncertainty) and unpredictable partner actions (i.e., behavioral uncertainty) trigger ex post governance adaptations in alliances, and how these adaptations in turn affect alliance performance. Using data collected from 178 partner firms in China, we find that the partner firms will undertake more extensive alliance adaptations as demand uncertainty and behavioral uncertainty increase. However, while the extent of alliance adaptations increases as technological uncertainty increases, there is a threshold level of technological uncertainty beyond which the extent of alliance adaptations decreases. The results also suggest that although alliance adaptations enhance alliance performance, this positive impact may diminish after alliance adaptations reach a certain threshold level. Overall, we contribute to the alliance evolution literature by focusing on why partner firms undertake alliance adaptations and how they benefit from these ex post governance adaptations.
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