Collaborate Rather Than Compete

As the global market expands and organizations focus on niche markets and specialized products and services, the expansion of strategic alliances is becoming more prevalent. The need for influential and competent strategic alliance managers is paramount. Strategic alliance managers live precariously as they represent organizational interests while attempting to manage the alliance relationships with other organizations (Zoogah and Peng, 2010). They serve as relationship managers who require skills focused on collaboration rather than competition, which is more common in nonprofits rather than the marketplace (Zoogah, and Peng, 2010). This is causing an ambiguity in success metrics for strategic alliance managers, which also measure the success of alliances themselves.

Strategic alliances allow organizations to achieve significantly superior performance such as higher growth rates and ROI (Pekar & Allio, 1994). Unfortunately, despite the high level of success potential in strategic alliances, the overwhelming majority of them fail, and alliance managers often take the blame (Zoogah and Peng, 2010). This reveals a great deal of misunderstanding regarding alliances and what makes them work, as well as what role the alliance managers play.

Alliance success is largely dependent on the adaptability and openness of the alliance partners, the human resource practices of both parties, and the learning capability of both parties during implementation (Taylor, 2005). Alliance managers must focus their attention on the alignment, or manage the tension between, each of these factors, which is a focus on collaboration rather than competition (Zoogah and Peng, 2010). Alliance managers must take into account life cycle stages, alliance cultures, and stakeholder perspectives (Segil, 2005), and their success metrics should focus on the management of these. These metrics should focus on development in the early stages of an alliance, and the implementation metrics in the later stages of the alliance (Segil, 2005).


Pekar, P. (1989). How Battle-Tested Managers Assess Strategic Alliances – ProQuest. Planning Review, vol.17(iss. 4), pp.34.

Pekar, P., & Allio, R. (1994). Making alliances work— guidelines for success. Long Range Planning, 27(4), 54–65.

Segil, L. (2005). Metrics to successfully manage alliances. Strategy & Leadership, 33(5), 46–52.

Taylor, A. (2005). An operations perspective on strategic alliance success factors: An exploratory study of alliance managers in the software industry. International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 25(5), 469–490.

Zoogah, D. B., & Peng, M. W. (2010). What determines the performance of strategic alliance managers? Two lens model studies. Retrieved from

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