Strategic Alliances between Japanese-Western Companies: A Win-Win or Win-Lose Relationship? The Case of the Automobile Industry

  •  Luca Petruzzellis    
  •  Antonia Rosa Gurrieri    
  •  Alberto Pezzi    
  •  Marco Lenoci Lenoci    


Inter-firm cooperative arrangements involving flows and linkages that use resources and/or governance structures from autonomous firms based in different countries help in accomplishing both the individual objectives and the collective ones. Through collaboration with foreign partners, firms are able to exploit new market opportunities, minimise investment risks, set up more efficient and effective distribution channels or create products, product features, brands or services and, above all, absorb key capabilities and technologies from the partner. Literature on strategic alliances raised the issue on an alleged appropriation of benefits by Japanese firms when participating in strategic alliances. Japanese companies have experienced higher shareholders’ returns in strategic alliances with Western partners, both in the short term and in the medium one. The choice of Japanese and Western companies calls for a deeper understanding of the drivers of the alliances and the determinants of value creation without misleading influences deriving from different business environments.

This paper analyzes the wealth distribution taking into account the reaction of the market to the alliance as an indicator of a successful strategy. It explores the case of the automobile industry, which is characterised by a high use of inter-firm cooperation, such as strategic alliances and mergers & acquisitions, to effectively compete in the global market and face the global crisis.

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