Strategic Alliances Fit or Failure

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ter verkrijging van de graad van doctor aan de Universiteit Twente, op gezag van de rector magnificus, prof. dr. F.A. van Vught volgens besluit van het College voor Promoties in het openbaar te verdedigen op vrijdag 6 juni 1997 te 16.45 uur


Marc Ulco Douma geboren op 22 april 1969


te Heerhugowaard Dit proefschrift is goedgekeurd door: Promotoren: Prof. dr. P.J. Idenburg Prof. dr. J. Bilderbeek Prof. dr. J.C. Looise

Strategic Alliances; Fit or Failure Thesis University of Twente, Enschede ISBN 90 365 09629 Druk: Drukkerij Elinkwijk BV, Utrecht


1997 M.U. Douma, Utrecht, The Netherlands

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission from the author.



Although admittance to the degree of doctor formally means that the holder is judged capable of conducting scientific research independently, this thesis would never have come into being without the help of a great number of people. First of all my thanks go to my promoters, Peter Idenburg, Jan Bilderbeek and Jan Kees Looise. Each in his own way has contributed in a constructive and stimulating manner to the realisation of this thesis from the very first. I shall look back with pleasure to the excellent collaboration and inspiring discussions on Friday. A special word of thanks must go to Derkjan van der Leest. His support, enthusiasm, creativity and energy were indispensable. Not only for my research, but also for the development of our consultancy group in particular. Working in a professional environment such as Coopers & Lybrand has been an enormous stimulus to my research. Many people devoted time and energy to the realisation of this co-operation between science and practice. I would like to mention Simon Huyzer and Eduard van der Weegen in particular. Further, I would like to thank all my colleagues at Coopers & Lybrand and the University of Twente for all the interest, suggestions and especially the splendid co-operation. For me, the most stimulating phase of the research concerned the empirical research. Many people donated their time, without self-interest. I would especially like to thank the companies who ultimately participated in the research. These are DSM, Koninklijke Gist Brocades, Smit Internationale, Stork-Wärtsilä Diesel, Unilever and Wijsmuller. Without exception, the managers involved in the alliance spoke very frankly to me. Their practical experience with strategic alliances greatly increased the practical usefullness of this research. I hope that they will find part of their vision reflected in this book.


I would like to thank Jurgen Spies and Hendrik-Jan Zandbergen for the great deal of work they carried out in their research into the implementation of strategic alliances. I thank Helen-Anne Ross for all the translation work and the pleasant collaboration, Bill for the many corrections and the perseverance that is extremely necessary when writing a thesis. And finally, Femmeke, because I met you.

Marc Douma




1.0 0 5.0 0 5.0 0 5.0 0 7.0 0 7.0 0 9.0 0 11. 00 11. 00 11. 00 14. 00 14. 00 15. 00 15. 00 16. 00 18. 00 18. 00 18. 00

1 Background, problem definition, method and summary 1.1 1.2 Introduction Research background 1.2.1 1.2.2 1.2.3 1.3 Development of strategic alliances Alliances vs autonomous development and mergers/takeovers Success of strategic alliances

Objective, scope, research questions, expected results 1.3.1 1.3.2 1.3.3 1.3.4 Research objective Research scope Research questions Expected results


Practical and scientific relevance 1.4.1 1.4.2 Practical relevance Scientific relevance


Research design 1.5.1 1.5.2 Theory development Case study approach



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