5015 Elective - Strategic Alliances
Univ.Prof. Dr. Thomas Mellewigt, Univ.Prof. Dr. Werner H. Hoffmann, Tobias Knoll, MSc (WU)
Contact details
  • Type
  • Weekly hours
  • Language of instruction
02/12/19 to 02/15/19
Registration via LPIS
Notes to the course
Subject(s) Master Programs
Day Date Time Room
Monday 05/27/19 04:00 PM - 09:00 PM D5.1.004
Thursday 06/06/19 03:00 PM - 08:00 PM D5.1.004
Monday 06/17/19 11:00 AM - 05:30 PM D5.1.004
Friday 06/21/19 09:00 AM - 03:00 PM D5.1.004


Strategic alliances represent an increasingly integral component of corporate strategy. Both small and large companies have moved away from the traditional stand-alone approach, with arms-length arrangements to other organizations, to a more tightly coupled structure involving alliances with suppliers, buyers and even competitors. This trend has led many

observers to argue that alliance proliferation signals the onset of network capitalism and emergence of the network structure as the dominant organizing form. With these changes have come a host of strategic and managerial challenges not found in other organizational forms. Especially, the successful management and configuration of whole alliances portfolios and the development of alliance portfolio management capability are crucial challenges for inter-connected firms.   

We will initially focus on when to use an alliance. We will then turn to the formation of an alliance – examining how to select a partner and which structure and contract design to choose. Following, we will discuss different governance mechanisms as well as knowledge and learning in alliances. We will conclude the course with a session devoted towards alliance performance and termination.

Learning outcomes

The purpose of this course is to examine and expand upon the current understanding of the challenges of developing and managing strategic alliances. Reflecting the breadth of the novel features of the structure, the course will draw from both strategic management and organizational behavioral disciplines. To order the discussion, we will take a process view in addressing why and then how to use a strategic alliance. 

After completing this class students will be able to: 

  • define strategic alliances, and explain why they are important corporate strategy vehicles and why firms would enter into them.

  • understand the differences between M&As and strategic alliances and evaluate under which conditions each vehicle is to be preferred.  
  • describe various governance meachnism types and elaborate on their pro and cons.
  • understand what the term "alliance management" implies and explain how an alliance management capability can lead to a competitive advantage.
  • understand what ecosystems with regard to strategic alliances are and how coopetition can enhance corporate performance.

Attendance requirements

80 %

Teaching/learning method(s)

The course will combine various learning methods to deliver the different topics to the students. These will include readings, lectures, open class discussions, student presentations in class, and case studies. 


The final grade of the course will depend on:

  • 30% entry exam (individual assessment) 
  • 30% presentation of case study (group assessment) 
  • 30% project paper (individual assessment)
  • 10% participation in class (individual assessment).
Last edited: 2018-11-26