Building a Successful Alliance

Every day new strategic alliances are formed between corporations, entrepreneurs, and outreach organizations because there is a shift in understanding that autonomy is no longer paving the road to success, but it is through cooperative alliances that sustainable success is possible (Pett & Dibrell, 2001). With the increasing turbulent environment of increased government regulations and the rise of global competitors, organizations of all kinds are finding a competitive edge in partnership relationships (Pett & Dibrell, 2001). The challenge lies in the high rate of failure in strategic alliances and how organizations overcome the statistics (Zoogah & Peng, 2010). Despite the statistical pessimism, the benefits of strategic alliances make them very enticing:

  • Reduced cost through specialization
  • Improved synergistic performance
  • Increased information to support joint planning
  • Enhanced customer service
  • Reduced risk and uncertainty
  • Shared creativity
  • Competitive advantage (Bowersox et al., 1992)

So, organizational leaders must lock in on the key performance indicators of alliances and empower alliance managers with a proper focus on what makes alliances successful.


One success factor of alliances is the level of trust enjoyed by the partner organizations. Alliances are relationships that are built on a mutual benefit. This requires openness and adaptability from all partners. (Taylor, 2005)

Chemistry Among Managers

Organizational leaders and alliance managers of all partners must find a level of chemistry with one another and develop rapport through the sharing of, and openness to, new ideas. (Taylor, 2005)

Readiness to Learn

Alliances are most often established between organizations who need one another in some way. All partners need to be willing to learn from one another, even if that means absorbing new knowledge and competencies that may push comfort levels. (Taylor, 2005)

By equipping alliance managers to effectively measure these key performance indicators, organizations can increase their success probability significantly.


Bowersox, D. J., Daugherty, P., Dröge, C., Germain, R., & Rogers, D. (1992). Logistical excellence: it’s not business as usual. Burlington, MA: Digital Press.

Pett, T. L., & Dibrell, C. C. (2001). A process model of global strategic alliance formation. Business Process Management Journal, 7(4), 349–364.

Taylor, A. (2005). An operations perspective on strategic alliance success factors: An exploratory study of alliance managers in the software industry. International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 25(5), 469–490.

Zoogah, D. B., & Peng, M. W. (2010). What determines the performance of strategic alliance managers? Two lens model studies. Retrieved from

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