Amsterdam School of International Business

Strategies of multilateral coopetition for sustainability

experienced tensions and coopetition capabilities


Prior work has focused on understanding coopetition tensions and response in bilateral coopetitions. Even though multilateral coopetitions are prevalent in practice they have not been fully studied in terms of coopetition tensions and their management.

This omission is problematic. Multilateral coopetitions can complement what we know in prior work because they are inherently complex with multiple actors and greater coordination needs. Hence, we asked: how are tensions experienced and managed in multilateral coopetitions?

We answer this question by drawing on 31 interviews and archival data from seven multilateral coopetitions in the context of sustainability. We found three types of multilateral coopetitions comprising member companies and independent central coordinating organization. We show that actors within each coopetition type experience tensions differently and have varied capabilities to manage these tensions.

Our contribution is twofold.

First, we complement insights from prior work by opening the black box of coopetition tensions to show that not all coopetition tensions are salient for actors within and across coopetitions.

Second, unlike prior work that locates capabilities within focal firms, we show that coopetition capabilities are dispersed across actors, which has implications for value creation and capture.

Reference Divito, L., & Sharma, G. (2019). Strategies of multilateral coopetition for sustainability: experienced tensions and coopetition capabilities. Unpublished.
Published by  Centre for Economic Transformation 18 July 2024

Publication date

Jul 2024


Garima Sharma


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