Navigating in a network of interests: A study into the effects of structural changes within a competitor based strategic alliance

Jonas Johan Ankerstjerne & Tobias Tofting

Student thesis: Master thesis


Management of strategic alliances and networks is a rapidly growing academic area. Firms have to be aware of how they manage these topics in order to exploit their network positions to the fullest in order to improve their competitive advantages. Most published studies are conducted on dyadic relationships within networks. We found it interesting to look at more complex networks. Therefore our research problem for this thesis is "How will a change in the structure of a strategic alliance affect the competitive advantage?". The cooperative organization of Kopenhagen Fur and Danskpelsdyravlerforening is ideal for such a study with a highly complex structure of roles and interests. The analysis of the case is conducted using the two major theoretical areas of the Relational View (RV) and the Industrial Marketing and Purchasing Group (IMP). The RV applies a more classic economical approach where the IMP focuses on a social network factor. The analysis suggests that we are dealing with an organization containing a very high degree of trust between the actors. At the same time the organization is able to apply technology and as such lower the transaction costs to the benefit of the whole network. We then suggest two changes to the strategic alliance (a specific new technology - the RFID-chip - and a new financial opportunity for the members of KF. The two suggestions will both have positive impact on the organization, however on separate areas. We believe that the study of the complex organization helps shed further light on the research topic of Management of strategic alliances and networks due to the fact that we attempt to combine two of the major theoretical areas, and manage to apply the result in a practical complex case.

EducationsMSc in Management of Innovation and Business Development, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2011
Number of pages146