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Title: The impact of parent firm's Machiavellianism on learning and performance in strategic alliances
Author: Musarra, Giuseppe
ISNI:       0000 0004 5362 0561
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2015
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Strategic alliances are fraught with risks, such as the uncontrolled disclosure of core knowledge via opportunistic learning. The usefulness of learning in alliance success and development notwithstanding, a contrasting view is that learning strategy can themselves manifest the dark side of strategic alliances. The present study argues that novel dark personality traits—the focal firm’s amoral manipulation, distrust of alliance partner and desire for status—may influence key strategic alliance decisions pertaining to how to learn the complementary knowledge needed to achieve a competitive advantage, which, in turn, can arrest and enhance performance outcomes. Our conceptual model was developed and tested, using Structural Equation Modelling (SME) and based on a survey of 361 strategic alliances. The dark personality traits prove influential in that the results suggest: (a) focal firm’s amoral manipulation does not significantly drive learning optimising strategy (i.e., collaborative learning) whereas, it is positively associated with learning satisficing strategy (i.e., competitive learning); (b) the focal firm’s distrust of alliance partner is negatively associated with learning optimising strategy and positively associated with learning satisficing strategy; and (c) somewhat surprisingly, the focal firm’s desire for status is positively related to learning optimising strategy and, meanwhile, does not significantly relate to learning satisficing strategy. As regards outcomes of learning, we show that: (a) learning optimising strategy enhances the performance of the focal firm in the alliance, facilitating the achievement of desired goals (e.g., mastering new knowledge); and (b) learning satisficing strategy deters the performance of the focal firm in the alliance, preventing the accomplishment of desired goals (e.g., mastering existing knowledge possessed by the counterpart). Important implications for alliance management are derived from the study findings. Above all, the investigator strongly recommends that even if an alliance partner appears to be cooperative and trustworthy, it is crucial to be wary of opportunistic learning, because Machiavellian firms may simultaneously use learning optimising and learning satisficing strategies to achieve desired goals, even if this self-serving strategy undermines alliance success.
Supervisor: Robson, Matthew ; Katsikeas, Constantine ; Chari, Simos Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available