It is generally believed that a coopetition relation fails whenever the ‘competition’ and ‘conflict’ motives become predominant over the incentive to cooperate toward a common goal. Very few studies, if any, investigate the difficulty to coordinate actions and expectations in a coopetition relation as one of the causes of failure. This omission appears quite surprising, considering that many interactive situations that are of potential interest for both organizational theorists and scholars of strategic management tend to resemble features of coordination games more than social dilemmas (e.g. Camerer and Knez 1994). In fact, quite often the key problem in both intrafirm and interfirm relations is coordinating effort levels on a common goal rather than obtaining members’ cooperation within a partially convergent interest structure. Tacit coordination of actions and expectations may result as a very difficult goal to achieve, even in absence of any genuine conflict of interest, let alone when the latter is present, as it happens in the case of coopetition. The prototypical example of coopetition in a game-theoretic framework is given by the prisoner’s dilemma. Thomas Schelling (1960) long ago pointed out that a prisoner’s dilemma is actually a combination of two games, a pure conflict game and a pure coordination game. Whereas we know a lot on how the conflict motive may work toward destroying a relationship that is cooperative and competitive at the same time, we know much less about how the same effect can be reached by failure to coordinate. Given these premises, the chapter aims to contribute to the literature on coopetition focusing on impediments to tacit coordination and trust as a possible source of coopetition failure alternative to opportunism (see, for example, Grandori and Neri (1999) on fairness and opportunism in coopetition relations). We believe that understanding when and why coordination failure occurs in a pure-motive game structure (as in coordination games, where incentives are perfectly aligned) may contribute significantly to our understanding of when and why mixed-motive (‘coopetitive’) relationships fail. In particular, coordination failure arguments may prove especially relevant when trying to explain the problems encountered in cross-cultural business relations, in which failures to coordinate organizational codes, languages and habits

may be compounded by country-wide cultural differences (see Weber and Camerer 2003). Restated differently, the conditions that are shown to favor coordination success in pure coordination games may reasonably constitute the minimal set of conditions that it is necessary to satisfy in order to guarantee a coopetition relationship sufficiently high chances of success in the medium-long term. The chapter is organized as follows. The next section reviews previous related work and presents the main research hypotheses. The third section presents the two games and the experimental design. The fourth section analyzes and discusses the results. The fifth section offers some concluding remarks and directions for future research.