How can we explain a proliferation of alliances when the probability of failure is higher than success? And why have we emphasized their order, manageability and predictability whilst acknowledging that they tend to be experienced as messy, politically charged and unpredictable? Mark de Rond, in this provocative book, sets out to address such paradoxes. Based on in-depth case studies of three major biotechnology alliances, he suggests that we need theories to explain idiosyncracy as well as social order. He argues that such theories must allow for social conduct to be active and self-directed but simultaneously inert and constrained, thus permitting voluntarism, determinism, and serendipity alike to explain causation in alliance life. The book offers a highly original combination of insights from social theory and intellectual history with more mainstream strategic management and organizations literature. It is a refreshing and thought-provoking analysis that will appeal to practitioner and academic researcher alike.
• Controversial and innovative interdisciplinary approach to understanding strategic alliances • Based on extensive original research in biotechnology companies • Important contribution to strategic management scholarship confirmed by preface by Anne Huff - former president of American Academy of Management
Foreword A. Huff; Preface: By way of introduction; 1. Paradoxes of alliance life; 2. The context of drug discovery; 3. Case study 1: Rummidgen and plethora; 4. Case study 2: Cambiogen and plethora; 5. Case study 3: Bionatura and pflegum-courtal; 6. Putting two and two together: Revisiting theory and practice; 7. Strategy, structure, and structuration: The general in the particular; 8. The hedgehog and the fox: The particular in the general; 9. The legitimacy of messiness; Appendix: A few words on methodology.
'An absorbing account of strategic learning in a hi-tech sector. Written in an elegant and witty style, it opens the analysis to a wide audience. The case histories are likely to be quoted in management teaching and research for some time to come.' Professor Raymond Loveridge, Said Business School, University of Oxford
'… a tour de force analysis of strategic alliances …' R. Duane Ireland, . David Robbins Chair in Strategic Management, Robins School of Business, University of Richmond
'… what makes de Rond's approach unusual … is his underlying passion. When the chips are down, de Rond is … a philosopher, and his real objective is not an empirical study of the roots of success in business alliances but a philosophical crusade to demolish the intellectual basis of any attempt at simple, reductive explanations.' The Business Economist