Alliance Partner Selection
The alliance partner selection stage involves the choice of a partner or group of partners with which a fi rm seeks to realize its objectives. Questions that need to be addressed during this stage include: which potential partners exist, which partner is most suitable and what are potential strengths and weaknesses of each potential partner? Answering these questions requires an understanding of the notion of partner fi t – that is, of the comparative inter-fi rm differences related to certain attributes or dimensions that continually shape the pattern of interaction between partners. If partners are highly compatible, such as in their culture or networks, they may be more likely to realize their objectives. Partner misfi t instead tends to jeopardize the relationship; therefore, pre-existing knowledge about the degree and content of misfi t provides valuable information for improving the design and management of any alliance. To inform their alliance partner selection, managers must understand the differences among various types of fi t and comprehend the rationales that underpin partner selection (described in the fi rst section). The following two sections provide a systematic framework containing a set of decisionmaking steps for alliance partner selection, along with a summary. The fi nal section concludes with a case illustration.