Generic Criteria for Strategic Partnering

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Generic Criteria for Strategic Partnering
Jen, USA
Would love to see more on how to assess potential partnership opportunities for a business --- i.e. what criteria make the right 'fit' for a partnership?

Strategic Partnerships, Alliances
Jaap de Jonge, Editor, Netherlands
Jen, thanks for your question. I'd suggest to take a look at "Co-opetition" and "Co-Creation" and "Clusters" and "Horizontal Integration" and "Mergers and Acquisition approaches" and "Vertical Integration". If anybody has additional ideas or knows of other models in this area, please include them as a reaction.

Criteria for Strategic Partners
R.S. MATHUR, Teacher, India
Jen in addition to a many theoretical models, I think complementarity between the partners is of paramount importance.

Criteria for Strategic Partnerships
Yakie Ogon, HR Consultant, Italy
Just like the relationship between a man and a woman, for business partnerships to have a synergistic effect. Compatibility, as well as divergence must be well managed from inception with open and unrestricted communication.

Criteria for Strategic Alliances, Partnerships
John Maddalena, CEO, South Africa
I think a principal criterion for effective alliances, between strategic partners, is TRUST.
To be able to add value to others, or accept their guidance, humans naturally have to believe that, not only does the other person have wisdom (contextually relevant insight), but also that they care, about the issue, about me.
Without this very human trait being present, we treat, even valid comments, with circumspection.
How trust is earned, is something we all need to understand, as human beings, travelling through this world. But it must be personal, for it to have meaning.

Partnership Success Factors
Stefka Nenkova, Student (University), Netherlands
What factors or criteria can possibly contribute to partnership success? Mohr and Spekman (1994) tried to find an answer to that question with the focus on vertical relationships (i.e. manufacturers - dealers). In order to do so they developed the following framework and hypothesize that the following components are partnership success indicators:

Components of the partnership framework by Mohr and Spekman:
  • ATTRIBUTES OF THE PARTNERSHIP – These refer to a set of constructs that help guide the information flow between partners, manage the interaction’s depth and breadth, and capture the complexity and dynamic level of the interaction between partners.
    Commitment constitutes the “willingness of trading partners to exert effort on behalf of the relationship” (Porter et at., 1974), or in other words, the intent of building a relationship that can cope with unexpected problems without involving opportunistic behavior.
    Coordination includes consistent set of actions that each partner expects from the other to carry out.
    Interdependence is connected to the degree to which each partner is dependent to the other and is a result from a relationship, “in which both firms perceive mutual benefits from interacting” (Levine and White, 1962) and “in which any loss of autonomy will be equitably compensated through the expected gains” (Cummings, 1984).
    Trust indicates the partners desire to collaborate and their belief in each other’s reliability. Multiple studies discuss the benefits of trust, among those benefits are ability to cope with stress and greater adaptability (Williamson, 1985), increased effectiveness of joint problem solving (Zand, 1972) and the achievements of outcomes that exceed what is possible with only own efforts (Anderson and Narus, 1990).
  • COMMUNICATION BEHAVIOR – Communication captures the efficiency of the information exchange and serves as a major indicator of the vitality of the partnership.
    Communication quality rests upon aspects like accuracy, timeliness, adequacy, and credibility of the exchanged information (Daft and Lengel, 1986; Huber and Daft, 1987; Stohl and Redding, 1987).
    Information sharing reflects “the extent to which critical, often proprietary, information is communicated to one's partner” (Mohr and Spekman, 1994). It helps maintain the relationship over time and allows more effective task completion (Guetzkow, 1965).
    Participation indicates the degree of engagement in joint planning and setting of goals.
  • CONFLICT RESOLUTION TECHNIQUES – The effect of conflict resolution on a partnership could actually be:
    Productive such as joint problem solving and persuasion, or
    Destructive such as domination and harsh words and in some cases arbitration, and smoothing/avoiding issues (Assael, 1969; Deutsch, 1969).
Mohr and Spekman (1994) found proof that Commitment, Coordination, Trust, Communication Quality and Participation, as well as Joint Problem Solving contribute greatly to the success of a partnership.
Mohr, J. and Spekman, R. (1994) “Characteristics of Partnership Success: Partnership Attributes, Communication Behavior,and Conflict Resolution Techniques”, Strategic Management Journal, Vol. 15, No. 2 (Feb., 1994), pp. 135-152
Porter, L., Steers, R., Mowday, R. and Boulian, P. (1974) “Organizational commitment, job satisfaction, and turnover among psychiatric technicians”, Journal of Applied Psychology, 59, pp. 603-609
Levine, S. and White, P. (1962) “Exchange as a conceptual framework for the study of interorganizational relations”, Administrative Science Quarterly, 5, pp. 583-601
Cummings, T. (1984) “Transorganizational development”, Research in Organizational Behavior, 6, pp. 367-422
Williamson, 0. (1985) “The Economic Institutions of Capitalism”, The Free Press, New York
Zand, D. (1972) “Trust and managerial problem solving”, Administrative Science Quarterly, 17, pp. 229-239
Anderson, J. and Narus, J. (January 1990) “'A model of distributor firm and manufacturer firm working partnerships”, Journal of Marketing, 54, pp. 42-58
Daft, R. and Lengel, R. (1986) “Organizational information requirements, media richness, and structural design”, Management Science, 32 (5), pp. 554-571
Huber, G. and Daft, R. (1987) “The information environment of organizations”. In F. Jablin et al. (ed.), “Handbook of Organizational Communication”, Sage Publications, Newbury Park, CA, pp. 130-164
Stohl, C. and Redding, W. C. (1987) “Messages and message exchange processes”. In F. Jablin et al. (eds), “Handbook of Organizational Communication: An Interdisciplinary Perspective”, Sage Publications, Newbury Park, CA, pp. 451-502
Guetzkow, H. (1965) “Communications in organizations”. In J. March (ed.), “Handbook of Organizations”, Rand McNally and Company, Chicago, IL, pp. 534-573
Assael, H. (1969) “Constructive role of interorganizational conflict”, Administrative Science Quarterly, 14, pp. 573-582
Deutsch, M. (1969) “Conflicts: Productive and destructive”, Journal of Social Issues, 25 (1), pp. 7-41.


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