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Product development alliances: factors influencing formation and success

Johanne Rønnow Olsen (Danish Agricultural Council, Copenhagen, Denmark)
Hanne Harmsen (Copenhagen University, Copenhagen, Denmark)
Alan Friis (BioCentrum‐DTU, Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, Denmark)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 18 April 2008




The objective of this paper is to develop a framework, based on existing literature, for factors influencing the formation and success of product development alliances, and relate this specifically to the food industry.


Case study of a product development alliance, with four partners and an interview survey, with 19 key informants in the Danish food industry.


The nature of the differences between the developed framework for product development alliances in the food industry and theory on alliances in general, indeed seem to rest in the chosen specific context. Companies in the food industry are not forced by external conditions to enter into product development alliances. Therefore, compared to other industries, motivations have to be stronger or risks smaller for them to form such interorganisational relationships. However, once formed, results indicate that success factors are rather universal across industries and types of alliances.

Research limitations/implications

Further research should explore the findings further, both within the food industry context, as well as more broadly in terms of geography and industry.

Practical implications

Managers obtain a tool for planning and refining their innovation strategy and actions regarding product development alliances.


This research contributes to the presently limited literature on product development alliances, specifically in the food industry context.



Rønnow Olsen, J., Harmsen, H. and Friis, A. (2008), "Product development alliances: factors influencing formation and success", British Food Journal, Vol. 110 No. 4/5, pp. 430-443.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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