When a relationship is born, there is always the feeling out stage. Both parties ask questions and there is an expectation of honesty, openness, and vulnerability. If either party suspects there is a lack of forthrightness, or any hint of deception, the relationship is terminated or moves forward with a high degree of trepidation and low degree of trust. These relationships are doomed from the very beginning and will require a great deal more work than previously in order to be successful.
This is true in the development of a strategic alliance. Strategic alliances between organizations are relationships that depend on a high degree of trust from the outset (Taylor, 2005). They are cooperative in nature that seek mutual benefit for all, and trust is at the forefront of their establishment. This requires a high level of knowledge sharing in order to establish that trust (Segil, 2005). The challenge is that knowledge sharing can be a little ambiguous and hard to control and track (Segil, 2005). Despite this difficulty in the ability to quantify, knowledge sharing should be an exercise given intentional effort by organizational leaders and alliance managers. There should be a willingness on all sides to share knowledge and competencies, as well as reciprocally absorb new knowledge and competencies (Taylor, 2005).
When knowledge sharing is a two-way road of give-and-take, alliance partners will enjoy the benefits of their alliance such as higher growth rates and higher return on investments (Pekar & Allio, 1994). For alliance managers, if they will be brokers of information and promoters of trust and goodwill, they will insure successful alliances as well as job security for themselves.
Pekar, P., & Allio, R. (1994). Making alliances work— guidelines for success. Long Range Planning, 27(4), 54–65. https://doi.org/10.1016/0024-6301(94)90056-6
Segil, L. (2005). Metrics to successfully manage alliances. Strategy & Leadership, 33(5), 46–52. https://doi.org/10.1108/10878570510616889
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. https://doi.org/10.1108/01443570510593157