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longer-term research than collaborative endeavors without government involvement. Moreover, the findings suggest that the ATP is providing funding during critical stages, overcoming barriers to collaborating, increasing project stability, and causing collaborative projects to run more smoothly, albeit with some perceived loss of flexibility on the part of companies. Due to the relatively small sample size and the exploratory nature of the study, the results are considered suggestive rather than conclusive, and a more extensive follow-on study is proposed.


Innovation is critical to superior performance for companies in high-technology industries. To produce innovations, companies increasingly seek collaborative relationships to access complementary resources, capabilities, and knowledge outside the firm. 2 The past two decades have witnessed an extraordinary increase in the number of inter-firm collaborations, i.e., alliances or joint ventures among firms. Indeed, Anand and Khanna observe that alliances have become one of the most important organizational forms, with more than 20,000 alliances reported in just the last two years. 3

Despite their potential importance, inter-firm collaborations are difficult to manage. Some estimates suggest that approximately 30-70 percent fail. 4 Alliances may be mushrooming in numbers, but alliance success is difficult to attain.

Understanding how to enhance the probability of success in inter-firm collaboration would be extremely valuable from an economic standpoint. This study increases such understanding by identifying factors held by companies participating in ATP-funded joint ventures to be particularly important to success.


Recent research suggests that government can play an important role as a catalyst for inter-firm collaboration. 5 Not only can government play an important

2 D. J. Teece et al., “Dynamic Capabilities and Strategic Management,” Strategic Management Journal, 18(7):509-533.

3 B. N. Anand and T. Khanna, “Do Firms Learn to Create Value? The Case of Alliances,” Strategic Management Journal, Special Issue Conference, Northwestern University, 1999.

4 B. Kogut, “The Stability of Joint Ventures: Reciprocity and Competitive Rivalry,” Journal of Industrial Economics, 38(2):183-98; J. Bleeke and D. Ernst, “Is Your Strategic Alliance Really a Sale?” Harvard Business Review, 73(1):97-105; Alliance Analyst, Managing Alliances—Skills for the Modern Era, March, 18, 1996; and K. R. Harrigan, Strategies for Joint Ventures, New York: The Free Press, 1985.

5 W. G. Ouchi and M. K. Bolton, “The Logic of Joint Research and Development,” California Management Review, 30(3):9-33, 1988; and M. R. Kelly and C. R. Cook, The Institutional Context and Manufacturing Performance: The Case of the U.S. Defense Industrial Network, NBER Working Paper W6460, March 1998.

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