In this era of global competition, companies are adopting various forms of collaboration with domestic and international counterparts to find a space in the global marketplace and help in strengthening their competitive advantage (Dodgson, 2018). A strategic alliance is one of the major strategies for growth of international business companies. The present study analyses the conceptual framework of strategic alliances, various theories and motives behind formation of strategic alliances with special orientation to Indian Industry and firms (Crossan & Inkpen, 1995).
Strategic alliance is a contract between two or more organizations to cooperate in a particular business activity. By this, both the companies get benefits from the strengths of the other and achieve competitive advantage. The formation of strategic alliances has been advanced after the globalization and seen as a quick response to liberalization. This will lead to ambiguity and complication in the business environment, Xu et al. (2018). Strategic alliances include the knowledge sharing and expertise between the associates as well as the reduction of costs and risks in areas such as relationships with vendors and new product development and new technologies. Strategic alliances are rational and response timely to penetrate and make rapid changes in technology and economic activity (Khanna, 2018).
Strategic alliances become an important type of business activity in most of the industries particularly in view that companies are competing in the global world and should adapt and respond to the various changes driven by Liberalization, privatization and globalization, which increased customer needs and business complexity, Zaefarian et al. (2017). Strategic alliances are not a solution for each and every company at every situation. But, through strategic alliances firms can progress their competitive positioning, supplement critical skills, gain entry to new markets and share the cost and risk of major development assignments (Rothaermel, 2015).
Michael E. Porter, 1990- Strategic alliances are long-term agreements between firms that go beyond normal market transactions but fall short of merger. Forms include joint ventures, licenses, long-term supply agreements, and other kinds of inter-firm relationships.
Dussauge & Garrette (1995), an alliance is a cooperative agreement or association between two or more independent enterprises, which will manage one specific project, with a determined duration, for which they will be together in order to improve their competences. It is constituted to allow its partners to pool resources and coordinate efforts in order to achieve results that neither could obtain by acting alone. The key parameters surrounding alliances are opportunism, necessity and speed.
Yoshino & Rangan, (1995) a strategic alliance is a partnership between two or more firms that unite to pursue a set of agreed upon goals but remain independent subsequent to the formation of the alliance to contribute and to share benefits on a continuing basis in one or more key strategic areas, e.g. technology, products.
Gulati (1998) strategic alliances are voluntary arrangements between firms involving exchange, sharing, or co-development of products, technologies, or services. Strategic alliances are critical to organizations for a number of key reasons:
Organic growth alone is insufficient for meeting most organizations' required rate of growth and return.
Speed to market is very crucial and essential, and alliances greatly improve it.
Complexity is increasing in today's global world, and no single firm has the required total expertise to serve the customer as good as possible.
Alliances can cover rising research and development costs and expenses.
Alliances facilitate access to global markets in marketing the products and services.
Strategic Alliances Have Some Characteristics
Two or more organizations (business units or companies) make an agreement to achieve objectives of a common interest considered important, while remaining independent with respect to the alliance (Cobianchi, 1994).
The partners share both the advantages and control of the management of the alliance for its entire duration.
The partners contribute, using their own resources and capabilities, to the development of one or more areas of the alliance (important for them).This could be technology, marketing, production, distribution, R&D or other areas (Beamish, 1998).
Benefits of the Strategic Alliances
There are four potential benefits that international business may realize from strategic alliances:
Ease of market entry: Advances in telecommunication, information technology and logistics and supply chain management have made entry into foreign markets by international firms very easier. Entering into foreign markets deliberates benefits such as economies of scale and increases opportunity in marketing and distribution (Anderson & Narus, 1984).The rate of entering an international business and international market may be beyond the capabilities of individual firm, but by entering into a strategic alliance with an international firm, it achieves the advantage of fast entry while keeping the cost low. Choosing a strategic partnership as the entry mode may overcome the hindrances like embedded competition and intimidating government rules and regulations de Villa et al. (2015).
Shared risks: Sharing the risk is another common reason for undertaking a strategic alliance i.e., cooperative arrangement when a market has just opened up, or when there is much instability and ambiguity in a particular market where sharing risks becomes mainly important (Beamish, 1984). The competition and competitive nature of business makes it very difficult for a business to enter a new market or launch a new product. But by forming a strategic alliance, a firm can reduce or control its risks to the optimum (Doz & Hamel, 1998).
Shared knowledge and expertise: Many companies are competent in certain areas and lack expertise in few areas; as such, forming a strategic alliance can allow ready access to knowledge and expertise in an area that an organization lacks. The knowledge, expertise and information that an organization gains, can be used not only for the alliance project, but also for all other projects and purposes (Contractor, and Lorange, 1988). The knowledge, expertise and information can range from learning to deal with government rules & regulations, production knowledge, or learning how to acquire resources. A learning organization is always a growing organization (Bleeke & Ernst, 1991).
Synergy and competitive advantage: One of the reasons for firms enter into a Strategic alliance is for achieving synergy and competitive advantage. As compared to entering a market alone, forming a strategic alliance becomes a way to decrease the risk of market entry, research and development, international expansion, etc. (Sierra, 1995). Competition becomes more efficient and effective when both the partners leverage off each other's strengths, bringing synergy into the process that would be hard to achieve if attempting to enter a new market or industry Child et al. (1998).
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The main objective of the study is to understand the Strategic Alliances of Multi-National Companies in the present era and its plans in collaborating:
To trace the strategic alliance as a tool to harness the core competencies of strategic partners for strategic competitiveness.
To identify the motives of a firm to enter into strategic alliance.
To study the importance and benefits of Strategic alliance.
TYPES OF DATA SOURCES
Secondary Data: Main Source of Information
The access to the data and the information for analysis is obtained in documented form and the data is predominantly secondary in nature. The main sources of information are: (i) Records of Companies; (ii) Records of Income Tax Act, 1961 [Section 2(1A)]; (iii) Records of Industry; (iv) Books, journals, e-journals, periodicals and other published data and information.
Other Sources of Information: Primary Data
The second category of information and data relates to perceptions, opinions and views of knowledgeable people who are either actively involved in the transactions on either side, as well as those who are interested in the issue. The primary data necessary is generated through unstructured interviews schedule and personal interactions. These interviewees were essentially attempts to explore the views and judgments. The interviewees included top managerial...