4753 Elective - Strategic Alliances
Univ.Prof. Dr. Werner H. Hoffmann, Sebastian Priestersberger, MSc (WU)
Weekly hours
Language of instruction
02/10/22 to 05/27/22
Registration via LPIS
Notes to the course
Subject(s) Master Programs
Day Date Time Room
Thursday 06/02/22 01:00 PM - 05:00 PM EA.5.040
Friday 06/03/22 02:00 PM - 06:00 PM D5.1.004
Friday 06/10/22 02:00 PM - 06:00 PM D5.1.004
Friday 06/17/22 01:00 PM - 05:00 PM D5.1.004
Friday 06/24/22 01:00 PM - 05:00 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 (e.g the joint venture between Daimler and BMW). 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.  
Topics that we will cover in this course:
  • when to use an alliance
  • formation of an alliance
    • how to select a partner
    • how to select the best structure
    • which contract design to choose
  • governance mechanisms
  • knowledge and learning in alliances
  • alliance performance and termination
  • ecosystems and coopetition to enhance corporate performance
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

In order to successfully pass this course, your absence is limited to 20 % of our appointments.

Please note that all sessions are planned to be held on campus. However, some sessions may be held in a synchronous online mode, in case the situation requires this change.

Teaching/learning method(s)

The course will combine various learning methods to deliver the different topics to the students:

  • lectures
  • guest lectures (Jeff Reuer from the University of Colorado, USA)
  • open class discussions
  • student presentations in class
  • case studies
  • readings



The final grade of the course consists of:

  • 20% Group assignment 1
  • 40% Group assignment 2
  • 35% Individual participation in case discussions
  • 5% Peer review

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Availability of lecturer(s)

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Last edited: 2022-06-02