Resource‐and knowledge‐based authors claim that firms should focus on the creation and accumulation of knowledge‐based competencies in order to yield long‐term survival. Several authors have emphasized the added value of alliance relationships in the knowledge development and learning processes of organizations. Over the past decades, thanks to the opportunities provided by the inter‐firm co‐operations for knowledge transfer, knowledge access and learning, strategic alliances have become one of the most useful organizational forms for developing new knowledge for firms. The purpose of this paper is to identify and classify factors affecting knowledge transfer in strategic alliances.
First, knowledge‐related issues in strategic alliance literature are reviewed. Second, the importance of recognizing factors affecting knowledge transfer through strategic alliances is considered. Finally, the paper suggests a classification of factors in a bibliographical manner, which should be considered by researchers in related academic researches and also by alliance managers involved in planning and executing inter‐firm alliances.
Four categories are distinguished: the characteristics of knowledge; the factors related to absorptive capacity; the reciprocal behavior of the partners; and finally, the nature and form of alliance activity.
The findings of this paper can help researchers to step forward in considering knowledge transfer in different typologies of alliances, because factors affecting knowledge transfer have varied effects on different types of alliances. Awareness of the existence of these factors is another contribution of this paper that helps practitioners analyze more attentively available options for decision‐making and their consequences.
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