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Alliance or joint venture? Decisions on autonomy versus dependence

Anne-Sophie Thelisson (Department of Strategy, ESDES, Lyon, France and Department of, Université Catholique de Lyon, Lyon, France)

Journal of Business Strategy

ISSN: 0275-6668

Article publication date: 9 October 2023




Strategic alliances play a key role in a company’s growth strategy. They are an alternative to the organic option of creating a new company from scratch and a less risky option than conducting a merger or an acquisition. For five years, most recently in 2022, the results of PwC’s 22nd Annual CEO Survey have shown that 40% of U.S. CEOs plan to enter into a new strategic alliance or joint venture to boost their company’s growth or profitability in the coming year. These operations demand a high level of trust, collaboration and equitable risk-sharing, as well as autonomy granted to both firms. Through an in-depth case study, this study aims to reveal how an alliance was formed between two companies, navigating between entrepreneurial experience and the co-construction of a network to share a technological tool.


The author conducted several interviews with one of the founders of Beta France, and the author had access to a large amount of information on the launch of the entrepreneurial project.


The author presents the reasons for Beta France to join a network of alliances rather than entering into a joint venture. In doing so, the author emphasizes the importance of independence between actors as a key element triggering innovation.


This study points out how a fintech startup opens up perspectives for new digital market participants. The author lists the risks that CEOs joining an alliance must be aware of, and the author details how to avoid falling into an asymmetrical alliance by keeping a center of expertise that cannot be duplicated by other partners.



Thelisson, A.-S. (2023), "Alliance or joint venture? Decisions on autonomy versus dependence", Journal of Business Strategy, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



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