Collaborating With Potential Competitors: The Profits and the Perils
Issue 3, 1990

Many Western managers are becoming wary of joint ventures. They have learned through costly experience that such alliances - particularly with Asian partners - can become a low-cost route through which new competitors acquire technology and market access. However, with the costs of product and market development escalating, avoiding strategic alliances altogether is not an option many firms can afford. The question for Western firms is: Is it really possible to win at collaboration? Our research - a five-year investigation of 15 strategic alliances around the globe - suggests that the answer is "yes." But in order to succeed at the special kind of partnership that we call competitive collaboration, Western firms must become as adept as their Far Eastern counterparts at managing collaboration for competitive gain.