Skip to Content Skip to Footer
How Asymmetrical Alliances Impact Firm Performance and Risk

How Asymmetrical Alliances Impact Firm Performance and Risk

Anindita Chakravarty, Chen Zhou and Ashish Sharma

Persistent high failure rates of new product alliances call for an identification of factors that might improve alliance outcomes. A new Journal of Marketing study analyzes how asymmetries in pre-alliance network ties between a firm and its alliance partner affect the focal firm’s financial performance and financial performance uncertainty. Our research team discovered that direct-tie asymmetry has an inverted U-shaped effect on the focal firm’s abnormal returns and a U-shaped effect on its risk. Indirect-tie asymmetry also has a U-shaped effect on the focal firm’s risk. However, the focal firm’s innovation quality and preexisting ties with its partner flatten these curvilinear effects.

Our results suggest the following in dollar terms. To interpret the inverted U-shaped effect, let us assume a moderate increase in direct-tie asymmetry increases market capitalization of a firm by $100MM. With this reference point in mind, it is easier to see that a high increase in direct-tie asymmetry will lead to a lower increase of $78.2MM in market capitalization. The above findings are the interpretation of the main effects. To interpret the interaction effects of innovation quality at moderate increases in direct-tie asymmetry, we begin with the $100MM lift in market capitalization due to a moderate increase in direct-tie asymmetry. In this scenario, if innovation quality of the firm is high, it is able to achieve a $100.57MM increase in market capitalization. However, if innovation quality of the focal firm is low, it is able to achieve a $98.04MM increase in market capitalization. Again, with reference to the $100 MM increase in market capitalization due to a moderate increase in direct tie asymmetry, we interpret the interaction effects of total interdependence. In this scenario, if the total interdependence of the firm is high, it is able to achieve a $114.08MM increase in market capitalization. However, if the total interdependence of the focal firm is low, it is able to achieve a $101.6MM increase in market capitalization.

Advertisement

In order to interpret the interaction effects of innovation quality at high increases in direct-tie asymmetry, we begin with the $78.2MM lift in market capitalization due to a high increase in direct-tie asymmetry. In this scenario, if the innovation quality of the firm is high, it is able to achieve a $102.41MM increase in market capitalization. However, if the innovation quality of the focal firm is low, it is able to achieve a $34.10 MM increase in market capitalization. Again, with reference to the $78.2MM increase in market capitalization due to high increase in direct-tie asymmetry, we interpret the interaction effects of total interdependence. In this scenario, if the total interdependence of the firm is high, it is able to achieve a $113.47MM increase in market capitalization. However, if the total interdependence of the focal firm is low, there is a decrease of market capitalization by $64.23MM. 

Thus, we suggest a worst-case scenario that managers should avoid—a combination of high direct tie-asymmetry and low total interdependence with the potential alliance partner. 

Regarding risks associated with alliance formation, managers should note the importance of a potential alliance partner’s indirect ties, specifically how well these ties are interconnected relative to the interconnectivity of their firm’s own indirect ties. If we calculate changes in the focal firm’s predicted risk from a moderate increase in indirect tie asymmetry, we find a 68.7% decrease in the focal firm’s risk. The corresponding decrease in risk is 24% when indirect tie asymmetry has a high increase. When we calculate high and low levels of the moderators, we find that while all combinations reduce predicted risk to different degrees, one specific combination highlights a worst-case scenario. Specifically, a focal firm’s predicted risk increases by 56.8% with a combination of high increase in indirect-tie asymmetry and low total interdependence.

Thus, in terms of risk, a worst-case scenario emerges that managers should avoid—a combination of high indirect-tie asymmetry and low total interdependence with a potential alliance partner.

This study highlights the need to assess a potential alliance partner’s direct ties and indirect ties. We alert managers that indirect ties of alliance partners are important to assess and that direct and indirect ties assessed relative to an alliance partner directly affect the focal firm’s market capitalization.

Read the full article.

From: Anindita Chakravarty, Chen Zhou, and Ashish Sharma, “Effect of Alliance Network Asymmetry on Firm Performance and Risk,” Journal of Marketing.

Go to the Journal of Marketing

 

Sign Up for the "My Journal Reader" Newsletter

Get the latest academic-focused marketing research and updates directly in your inbox. My Journal Reader is powered by AI to bring you personalized content that is most relevant to you.

 

Anindita Chakravarty is Associate Professor of Marketing, Terry College of Business, University of Georgia, USA.

Chen Zhou is Assistant Professor of Marketing, Darla Moore School of Business, University of South Carolina, USA.

Ashish Sharma is Assistant Professor of Marketing, Walton College of Business, University of Arkansas, USA.