Competition and Cooperation


The Interplay of Competition and Cooperation, Special issue of Strategic Management Journal; Deadline 1 Jul 2015

Strategic Management Journal
Call for Papers for a Special Issue


The Interplay of Competition and Cooperation
Submission Deadline: July 1, 2015

Guest Editors

  • Werner Hoffmann, WU Vienna
  • Dovev Lavie, Technion
  • Jeffrey J. Reuer, Purdue University
  • Andrew Shipilov, INSEAD

SMJ Advising Editor
Alfonso Gambardella


Research in strategic management has traditionally focused on the study of interfirm competition. It has related competitive advantage to industry structure, to firms’ positions in product markets, and to their idiosyncratic resource configurations. According to this tradition, the dynamics of competitive interactions between firms shape their performance, whereas interfirm cooperation is considered a form of collusion that mitigates competition.

In the past couple of decades, however, cooperative interorganizational relations (e.g., strategic alliances, joint ventures, and research consortia) have drawn considerable attention, with scholars studying the motivation for forming such relations, as well as issues related to partner selection, alliance management, and performance implications. This stream of research suggests that alliances and networks of interorganizational relations directly contribute to firms’ competitiveness and performance rather than merely constrain rivalry. However, this emerging literature on cooperation has evolved almost independently of the literature on competition.

Although competition and cooperation have traditionally been considered separate modes of interaction between firms, scholars have begun to acknowledge that firms simultaneously engage in competition and cooperation with each other. For instance, studies have investigated partners’ competitive behaviors within cooperative relations, examined how partners seek to create and appropriate value, and explored how they engage in “coopetition” in horizontal alliances. Prior research has also revealed that competition can motivate alliance formation and industry clustering just as cooperative relations can lead to learning races that ultimately shape firms´ competitive positions. Nevertheless, most of the accumulated research on cooperative strategy has not been integrated with literature on competitive strategy, and the interplay of competition and cooperation has remained under-researched.

Aims and Scope

This special issue seeks to promote research on the interplay of competition and cooperation among firms. It encourages papers that connect the separate streams of research on competitive strategy and cooperative strategy, highlight value creation and appropriation in coopetitive interactions, and combine inter- and intra-organizational levels of analysis. This special issue also encourages papers that shed light on the coevolution of competition and cooperation, while analysing their consequences or identifying antecedents and mechanisms that drive their interplay.

Submitted papers should encompass both elements of competition and cooperation. Studying the interplay of competition and cooperation may entail considering how cooperation drives competition or vice-versa. Alternatively, submissions may examine how competition and cooperation jointly drive organizational outcomes. We further encourage papers that underscore the trade-offs and tension between competition and cooperation. We welcome both conceptual and empirical papers reporting either quantitative or qualitative methods that rely on archival data analysis, surveys, case studies, or experiments, with special interest in longitudinal data, cross-disciplinary research, and multilevel approaches.

Within the scope of this special issue, submitted papers may focus on the following themes:

  1. Antecedents, processes, and consequences of cooperating with competitors
  2. Value creation versus value appropriation in competition and cooperation
  3. The dynamics by which competition drives cooperation and vice versa
  4. Network analysis of the coevolution of competition and cooperation
  5. Coopetition, organization, and capabilities.

Below are examples of related research questions for each theme:

1. Antecedents, processes and consequences of cooperating with competitors

  • How do environmental, organizational, managerial, and cognitive factors drive coopetition?
  • How do industry characteristics and resource configurations shape coopetition?
  • How do firms maintain simultaneous cooperative and competitive relations?
  • Should firms simultaneously cooperate and compete or rather separate their partners from their competitors?
  • How do firms mitigate the risks that stem from opportunistic behavior of partners that operate as competitors?
  • How do interorganizational trust, governance and routines emerge in coopetitive relations?
  • How does the pursuit of simultaneous competition and cooperation affect firm performance?
  • What are the various facets of coopetition and their respective implications (e.g., innovation)?
  • How does cooperation affect firms’ competitive positions?

2. Value Creation and Appropriation in Coopetition

  • How do competition and cooperation relate in terms of value creation and appropriation?
  • How do firms simultaneously manage value creation and appropriation in cooperative relations?
  • What are the trade-offs and challenges of simultaneous competition and cooperation?

3. The Dynamic Interplay between Competition and Cooperation

  • How do competition and cooperation coevolve at the firm, dyad, network, and industry levels?
  • How does competition elicit cooperation?
  • How and why do partners begin to compete?

4. Network Analysis of Competition and Cooperation

  • How does multimarket competition relate to alliance formation and partner selection?
  • How do competition networks drive the evolution of cooperative networks and vice versa?
  • How does the interplay of competition networks and cooperative networks shape firm performance and drive industry entry and exit?
  • How does coopetition emerge in established cooperative networks?
  • How do competitors of a firm’s partners or partners of the firm’s competitors influence a firm’s strategy and performance?

5. Coopetition, Organization, and Capabilities

  • What are the elements of a coopetition capability? How do they differ from those of alliance management capability?
  • How is a coopetition capability developed and institutionalized?
  • How do coopetition capabilities of the firm and its partners shape performance?

These suggested questions define the intended scope of the special issue but are not meant to be exhaustive. We encourage new and novel research questions that focus on the interplay of competition and cooperation.

Submission Process

Submitted papers should adhere to the format requirements of the Strategic Management Journal.

Publication of the special issue is tentatively planned for early 2018.

Original submissions are due by July 1, 2015 and must be submitted using the

SMJ Submission system at

Earlier submissions are encouraged. Authors should indicate that they would like their submission to be considered for the special issue “The Interplay of Competition and Cooperation.” Authors of papers invited to be revised and resubmitted will be expected to work within a tight timeframe to meet the special issue’s publication deadline. A special issue conference is planned at WU Vienna in fall 2016 to facilitate the revision and development of papers for the special issue.

Further Information

For questions regarding the content of this special issue, please contact the guest editors:

Werner Hoffmann, WU Vienna:
Dovev Lavie, Technion:
Jeffrey J. Reuer, Purdue University:
Andrew Shipilov, INSEAD:


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