As declared above our goal is to pinpoint a small number of relevant ideas that have emerged along the journey we have made. We believe the following points represent important premises and starting points both for academics and practitioners. In particular, we advocate the continuation of this journey so as to make significant steps toward a innovative approach to coopetition strategy that can benefit from the variety of perspectives and research methods, as those in part illustrated in this book, without losing internal coherence. First, as observed in Chapter 1, we witness the convergence toward a conceptualization that distinguishes between coopetition and coopetition strategy (see in particular Chapters 2, 4 and 5). While the notion of coopetition refers to the generic condition in which there is simultaneous co-presence of competition and cooperation, the term “coopetition strategy” emphasizes the strategic intent embedded in it and its ensuing managerial implications. A good mix of emergence and deliberateness á la Mintzberg (1978) characterizes coopetition strategy (as illustrated in Chapter 9 with regard to the opera-house industries in Italy and Australia). However, the use of the periphrasis “coopetition strategy” explicitly refers to the strategic capability that a firm or an individual may exhibit of “changing the rules of the game” as earlier promoted by Brandenburger and Nalebuff in their pioneering tome (1996). Such a distinction is not simply theoretical. By recognizing the dimension of intentionality and deliberateness as something absolutely inherent to the notion of “coopetition strategy”, we enhance the importance and legitimacy of a new research subfield in the strategy realm as well as the need for introducing appropriate tool kits to manage coopetition strategy. Second, we put forth that coopetition strategy is inextricably connected to trust and opportunism. As pointed up in Chapters 2 and 5 from a theoretical perspective, and in Chapters 7, 8, 11 and 13 by means of empirical evidence, trust and opportunism have diverse determinants. It implies that, even if more trust might imply less opportunistic behaviour, the equation may not be true as both trust and opportunism are always co-present in a coopetitive relationship. The adoption of a dynamic view of coopetition helps illuminate this point: when determinants of trust override determinants of opportunism, then the former will prevail in the relationship and vice versa. Notwithstanding that, opportunism and distrust do not represent the only main threats to coopetitive relationship. Both Chapters 10 and 14, and, to some extent Chapter 3 with regard to the innovation process, illustrate that a coopetitive relation might come to an end due to increased (and unmanaged) coordination complexity. Coopetition strategy implies by definition leveraging on complementarities among resources at both intra-and interfirm levels (see Chapter 10). In turn it implies an intensification of coordination issues. We emphasize that coordination issues represent a menace, not seldom overlooked in the literature and in practice, to the accurate implementation of coopetitive strategy. Overall, the chapters contained in this book tackle the downside of a poor coordination management, showing how a
poorly managed coopetitive strategy may affect, in the long run, trust and cooperation. Accordingly, opportunism, trust and coordination complexity must be simultaneously monitored so as to maximize the value that can be created through the use of a coopetition strategy. Third, the chapters assembled in this book broadly provide evidence on how a coopetition strategy is actually fired up. Coopetition strategies are triggered at the institutional level when governments or other institutions can impose or recommend a coopetitive approach (see for instance Chapters 6, 7, 9 and 12), or are spontaneously undertaken by those firms that are shown to be proactive in establishing new rules of the game in their competitive arena (see Chapters 3 and 10). Some other times coopetition strategy does evolve from a set of firms and does get institutionalized, thus becoming common practice in the industry or in the supply chain (see Chapters 8 and 11). Whichever the case, these studies corroborate that coopetition strategies are expected to be carefully managed and cannot be left solely to “pure emergence” lest opportunistic interests or coordination issues undermine the survival of cooperation. In particular, the chapters contained in this volume show that each coopetition setting is characterized by a delicate equilibrium between cooperation and competition based on a blend of unique traits. The complexity embedded in such settings is such that an attentive analysis and the subsequent definition of ad hoc organizational rules are always recommended to make coopetition resilient. Fourth, to move onto the managerial side of coopetition strategy, as illustrated in Chapter 2, it is useful to distinguish between two categories of coopetition strategies depending on the number of parties involved in coopetition. We specifically detect two-party coopetition versus multiparty coopetition, on the premise that the term “party” may indicate a single individual or a kollektiv1 or an entire organization. The employment of networked technologies has made it possible to hasten the diffusion of multiparty coopetition. Multiparty coopetition strategy implies high complexity in terms of the number of partially convergent interests that must be simultaneously satisfied and coordination issues that are to be managed (e.g. access of a new party, dispute resolution). Parties might be peers, as in the case described in Chapter 12 or hierarchically organized firms as in the automotive supply chain illustrated in Chapter 11. In some circumstances, we observe an “emergent” organization of the roles of the partners based on dimensions such as their size (see Chapter 9) or their power and status (Chapters 6 and 13). Especially when it is not straightforward which party possesses the legitimate power to govern the alliance, then the establishment of an overarching organization is needed, to facilitate cooperation, remove obstacles, solve disputes, distribute resources and strategic information, filters between the strategic alliance and the external environment (see Chapters 11 and 12). The identification of a set of managerial criteria for multiparty coopetition strategy certainly represents a cornerstone of our research agenda. To some extent a number of contributions in this book have started to instill important insights on the best practices to manage a multiparty coopetitive alliance (see Chapter 8 with regard to alliance of knowledge-intensive organizations). It is our belief that fruitful
future suggestions will draw on bridging coopetition with the interdisciplinary study of cooperation and collective action as is discussed in the next section. Fifth and finally, the thirteen chapters of this book jointly advocate for crossfertilization among fields and subfields, which opportunely linked together will be able to turn out important advances in the study of coopetition and coopetition strategy. For instance, the last four chapters contained in the Experimental Evidence Section (in particular Chapters 11, 13 and 14) offer a sample of theory-breaking results that can be obtained from the joint employment of game theory, behavioural economics and cognitive psychology. In Chapter 11 the authors provide experimental findings that infringe and countervail both common industry analysts’ estimates and equilibrium predictions of the underlying gametheoretical model. Authors employ the laboratory as a means to reflect in vitro on possible alternative value improving contractual arrangements to govern bargaining in the automotive supply chain. The results indicate that the introduction of a more transparent flow of information in the bargaining process makes it possible to build a more cooperative negotiation environment, resulting in welfareenhancing outcomes. Results echo similar findings obtained in Chapter 12 that is in fact devoted to the analysis of the Japanese insurance market. In general, the joint employment of laboratory experiments and theory support the identification of appropriate organizational rules to sustain cooperation and enhance value creation. A relevant advantage of lab experiments is the possibility to isolate particular aspects of the interdependence underneath a coopetitive setting and evaluate in vitro the effects risen in diverse conditions (or treatments). For instance, lab experiments allows us to simplify and focus on pure-motive game structures and then draw implications for mixed-motive games as the ones underneath a coopetitive setting. As argued in Chapter 14, the premise is that understanding when and why a problem (e.g. coordination failure) occurs in a pure-motive game structure may contribute significantly to our understanding of when and why mixed-motive relationships fail. Consequently, it makes it easier to detect proper rules of organizational design to sustain coopetition. Both Chapters 13 and 14 delve into the complexity of coordination from different perspectives. Empirical evidence collected in the laboratory sheds light on types of threats to cooperation stemming from tacitness and difficulty to converge to shared rules of behaviour when trust is at stake. We believe that this stream of research can offer valuable insights to the theory of coopetition with respect to psychological and cognitive issues so far only partially understood.