Centre for Economic Transformation| CET

Horizontal Alliances



The International Business School and CAREM (Research group Urban Knowledge Economy) at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences have received funding from the Canadian Network of Business Sustainability to investigate how firms work together to address sustainability issues and affect transformational change.

The study focuses on horizontal alliances between competitors, ‘coopetition’, in which the partners simultaneously compete and cooperate. The underlying principles of cooperation and competition are conflicting and trade offs are inevitable. An example of this type of alliance is the Renault-Nissan Alliance and the Sustainability Apparel Coalition.

There are various value creating advantages to coopetition: cost savings, risk sharing of R&D investments, learning, access to complementary resources and access to new markets. Coopetition is very helpful for novel and radical product and process innovations, for solving industry-wide problems and for setting industry standards. But it is also the most complex type of collaboration with high risks of failure. Opportunism (perceived or otherwise) interferes with establishing trust and makes it difficult for partners to build and maintain collaborative structures and processes that lead to desired outcomes.

Our aim is to study how organizations manage the tension between cooperation and competition and create a win-win for all partners. We are studying two collaborations in the apparel industry by interviewing the partner organizations and studying the alliances’ external communication.

Please contact Dr. Lori DiVito for more information

This research project is being conducted with the financial and intellectual support of the Network for Business Sustainability

Project Info

Start date 01 Mar 2015