Working with multiple partners : balancing the efficiency – flexibility tension
The skill to partner is a transactional competence manifested through the decision whether to make or buy and whether to do so alone or in a partnership. Similarly, the skill to combine multiple cooperative relationships is a transactional competence and a source of competitive strength. The purpose of this study is to investigate whether firms approach the formation and management of their collaborative relationships in a systematic manner to tap synergies and maximise the overall benefits from their partnering activities. A cross-industry qualitative study was conducted in the computer, telecommunications, and media industries (CTMI) to examine how organizations navigate and utilize multiple relationships. Based on the findings, this study proposes a portfolio approach to the management of partnerships in highly dynamic industries. The suggested framework has very tangible meaning in the light of practical management, particularly when a focused interest is emerging in technology-intensive industries towards the art to work with multiple partners. Partnerships are a strategic tool, which has proved very useful in dynamic environments, and practitioners must learn to use them skilfully. The proposed framework is based on qualitative data collected in USA and Western Europe.