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Working Group
Strategic Alliances

Vienna University of Economics and Business • Freie Universität Berlin
• IESE Business School

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© Stefan Müller-Naumann

Overview

Working Group on Strategic Alliances

The Working Group on “Strategic Alliances” establishes a cross-industry discussion forum for executives and decision-makers in the fields of alliance and supplier management.

The aim of the Working Group on Strategic Alliances is to create a cross-industry discussion forum that both encourages debate and exchange among decision-makers and reports on new research findings in the strategic alliance field.

The members of the Working Group thus have the possibility to learn from companies in other industry sectors (“benchlearning”), thereby enabling them to further raise the effectiveness of their own alliance management.

The target group

  • Executives and decision-makers with experience in one of the following areas:
    • Alliance management
    • Cooperation in research and development, manufacturing or marketing and sales
    • Supplier management or (strategic) procurement
  • An exclusive group of selected companies who are not in competition with one another (one company per sector)

The benefits

  • Discussion and exchange on critical success factors in management throughout the entire life cycle of alliances
  • Close link to business and management research and latest research findings from leading universities
  • Access to best practices at other companies in different industries (“benchlearning”) and discussion of current trends and challenges
  • No discussion of any confidential aspects or matters relating to day-to-day business

The organization

  • Regular, one-day meetings of the Working Group (2 per year)
  • Content of meetings prepared and followed up by the team at FU Berlin and WU Vienna
  • Meetings organized and moderated by the team at FU Berlin and WU Vienna
  • Presentations by practitioners and academics with the opportunity for in-depth discussion
  • Meeting locations alternate between Working Group members
  • No membership fee for the Working Group; members cover their own travel and subsistence costs

THE TOPICS

We discuss practical issues and best-practice approaches, which are enriched with inputs from the academic perspective. Our topics include but are not limited to:

  • Discussing questions about partner selection during the alliance formation process and its implications for alliance successes and alliance performance
  • Addressing issues of partner complementarity, partner commitment, and partner compatibility
  • Evaluating under which conditions some of these attributes are more critical to alliance success than others
  • … 
  • Discussing a firm’s choice of alliance governance during the design phase of an alliance
  • Breaking down different governance forms and governance mechanisms ranging from joint ventures to contractual arrangements
  • Addressing issues of formal governance and self-enforcing governance like equity involvement, trust, and prior relationship with a partner as well as problems of knowledge exchange and dispute resolution
  • Discussing questions about how to run a stable and successful strategic partnership
  • Addressing different coordination problems due to interdependence, other firms‘ cultures, and intercultural differences
  • Evaluating mechanism facilitating coordination by providing clarity and predictability of partners‘ actions and interests, reducing frustration and increasing decision-making speed
  • Discussing similarities and differences of “standard” buyer-supplier relationships and more complex and long-living relationships that tend to be strategic partnerships
  • Addressing problems about creating and managing such interfirm relations such as risks sharing, inter-organizational learning and knowledge exchange, and establishing administrative mechanisms for adapting and resolving disputes

Academic lead

UNIV.-PROF. DR. WERNER H. HOFFMANN

Werner H. Hoffmann has firmly established himself as a thought leader and pioneer in the field of strategic management. He is Head of the Institute for Strategic Management at Vienna University of Economics and Business and Academic Director of its Master’s Program in “Strategy, Innovation and Management Control”. He was a Founding Partner and CEO of Contrast Management Consulting from 1991 to 2015 and has been a Managing Partner of Contrast EY Management Consulting since 2016, where he serves in the Advisory Services Division as Head of Strategy Consulting for Germany, Switzerland and Austria. He was Managing Director of the Austrian Controller Institute from 1988 to 2012 and has been President of its Supervisory Board since 2013. He also sits on the supervisory boards of a number of companies and organizations and has advised numerous well-know companies on strategy development and on establishment and further development of strategic and operative controlling systems. He is a frequent speaker at industry and academic events and has published extensively on the topics of strategic management, (inter-)organizational networks, management consulting, controlling and corporate governance.

Prof. Dr. Africa AriÑo

Africa Ariño is a professor in the Strategic Management Department at IESE Business School, where she holds the Joaquim Molins Figueras Chair of Strategic Alliances. She is specialized in Strategic Alliance Management, particularly in their structural design and management processes. As President Elect of the Strategic Management Society (SMS), she seats on the Executive Committee of this association. She was elected Fellow of the SMS in 2015. Her research has been published in in world-class academic journals such as Global Strategy Journal, Journal of International Business Studies, Journal of Management, Journal of Management Studies, Organization Science, and Strategic Management Journal. She is also the author of numerous contributions in publications aimed at a managerial audience, such as California Management Review or The Academy of Management Executive. She teaches courses on Corporate Strategy and Managing External Growth in MBA and Executive Education programs, as well as in the Ph.D. Program. She has taken part in diverse consulting projects on issues related to Strategic Management, such as the design and implementation of strategic plans and of management and governance bodies; design of strategic alliances; and issues particular to family-owned businesses.

 

 

Administration & Organization

The Strategic Alliances Working Group is co-organized by the Chair of „Strategic Management“ at the Free University of Berlin and the Institute for „Strategic Management“ at the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration. The focus is on the organization of knowledge transfer in the virtual, hybrid, and face-to-face events between the working group participants.

Participating companies

© Stefan Müller-Naumann

Previous events

including presentations given

November 2013, FU Berlin
1st meeting
November 2013, FU Berlin
April 2014, WU Wien
2nd meeting
April 2014, WU Wien
September 2014, Star Alliance
3rd meeting
September 2014, Star Alliance
September 2015, Deutsche Telekom
4th meeting
September 2015, Deutsche Telekom
April 2016, SAP
5th meeting
April 2016, SAP
October 2016, Robert Bosch
6th meeting
October 2016, Robert Bosch
April 2017, DZ Bank
7th meeting
April 2017, DZ Bank
October 2017, WU Wien
8th meeting
October 2017, WU Wien
April 2018, Bertelsmann
9th meeting
April 2018, Bertelsmann
September 2018, Bayer
10th meeting
September 2018, Bayer
April 2019, IESE Barcelona
11th meeting
April 2019, IESE Barcelona
September 2019, Deutsche Telekom
12th meeting
September 2019, Deutsche Telekom
September 2020, itelligence AG
13th meeting
September 2020, itelligence AG
January 2021, Virtual meeting
14th meeting
January 2021, Virtual meeting
April 2021, Virtual meeting
15th meeting
April 2021, Virtual meeting
September 2021, DT Swiss AG
16th meeting
September 2021, DT Swiss AG
April 2022, IESE Munich
17th meeting
April 2022, IESE Munich

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Former Co-Academic Lead:

We are deeply saddened by the death of Professor Dr. Thomas Mellewigt, a co-academic lead and co-founder of the Working Group Strategic Alliances. After working at the University of Leipzig and the University of Paderborn, he found his academic home at the Freie Universität Berlin, where he served as Professor of Strategic Management and dedicated member of the faculty from 2006 onwards.

We will remember him as an inspirational colleague, scholar and friend whose enthusiasm both for business administration and life was truly contagious. Thomas Mellewigt not only embodied both excellence in research and teaching, but he did so in his own, always positive, dynamic, and forward-looking way as a scientistathlete, and even DJ. In research, he not only leaves a great scientific legacy for his work in the fields of inter-firm cooperation, strategic alliances, and outsourcing, but his dedication remains a role model for many other scientists.

Thomas Mellewigt passed away on June 7, 2021, after a sudden and short illness. With his passing, we lose a truly extraordinary person.  We will all miss him very dearly. Our sympathy goes to his family and loved ones.

 

Contact

If you have any further questions about the Working Group on Strategic Alliances, please do not hesitate to contact us. We look forward to hearing from you and will get back to you as soon as possible.