The paper concludes that small firms follow one of two alliance strategies. When the firms are small relative to their rivals and to their market, they tend to use alliances to gain economies of scale and scope; when they are large in relative terms, they avoid alliances. This behavior is consistent with alliance usage by large firms. The paper also analyzes the sources of profit for a small firm that uses a "constellation" of allies to compete in a scale-intensive industry. Its profits depend on a combination of the group-based advantages generated by the constellation, and the share of these profits that the firm can appropriate from the group. Small firms face particular hazards in this regard when their bargaining power within their constellation is weak. The paper illustrates these arguments with data froma small survey, with case studies from the computer industry, and with a simple mathematical model.
Small Business Economics – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 29, 2004
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