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Mellewigt T., Hoetker G. & Lütkewitte M. (2018) :Avoiding high opportunism is easy, achieving low opportunism is not: A QCA Study on Curbing Opportunism in Buyer-Supplier Relationships.

Past research on how opportunism in buyer-supplier relationships can be mitigated remains incomplete and often contradictory. Applying recent advances in qualitative comparative analysis to a sample of 137 buyer-supplier relationships in the German automotive industry, we show that there are multiple equifinal pathways to high and low opportunism. In general, our study shows that it is easier to avoid high opportunism than to consistently achieve low opportunism. On this basis, we offer new insights into countering opportunism for researchers and managers. Achieving low opportunism requires a combination of governance mechanisms, which are generally not interchangeable. In particular, relational governance mechanisms in isolation seem to be more restricted than prior research has suggested but form a powerful synergistic combination with complex contracts. Although formal governance mechanisms lack enforceability, the coordination and monitoring that they provide are critical in both avoiding high opportunism and achieving low opportunism. Performance ambiguity is especially difficult to manage. Overall, our paper shows the power of configurational approaches and encourages the development of new theory that adopts a situational contingency perspective.

Mellewigt T., Thomas A., Weller I. & Zajac E.(2017): Alliance or Acquisition? A Mechanisms-Based, Policy-Capturing Analysis.

While alliance researchers view prior partner‐specific alliance experience as influencing firms' subsequent alliance or acquisition decisions, empirical evidence on the alliance versus acquisition decision is surprisingly mixed. We offer a reconciliation by proposing and testing an analytical framework that recognizes prior partner‐specific experiences as heterogeneous along three fundamental dimensions: partner‐specific trust, routines, and value certainty. This allows us to use a policy‐capturing methodology to rigorously operationalize and test our mechanism‐level predictions. We find that all three mechanisms can increase the likelihood of a subsequent alliance or acquisition, and in terms of the comparative choice between alliances versus acquisitions, partner‐specific trust pulls towards alliances, and value certainty pulls towards acquisitions. We conclude with a discussion of the theoretical and empirical implications of our approach and method.

Meier M., Lütkewitte M., Mellewigt T. & Decker C. (2016): How managers can build trust in strategic alliances: A meta-analysis on the central trust-building mechanisms.

Trust is an important driver of superior alliance performance. Alliance managers are influential in this regard because trust requires active involvement, commitment and the dedicated support of the key actors involved in the strategic alliance. Despite the importance of trust for explaining alliance performance, little effort has been made to systematically investigate the mechanisms that managers can use to purposefully create trust in strategic alliances. We use Parkhe’s (1998b) theoretical framework to derive nine hypotheses that distinguish between process-based, characteristic-based and institutional-based trust-building mechanisms. Our meta-analysis of 64 empirical studies shows that trust is strongly related to alliance performance. Process-based mechanisms are more important for building trust than characteristic- and institutional-based mechanisms. The effects of prior ties and asset specificity are not as strong as expected and the impact of safeguards on trust is not well understood. Overall, theoretical trust research has outpaced empirical research by far and promising opportunities for future empirical research exist.

Krzeminska A., Hoetker G., Mellewigt T. (2013): Reconceptualizing plural sourcing.

Firms often procure the same input via multiple means, e.g., making and buying. Recent papers have yielded rich, but inconsistent, theoretical and empirical insights. Resolving these inconsistencies requires reconceptualizing two aspects of plural sourcing: what and how. We reconceptualize plural sourcing as a set of combined governance modes—make‐and‐buy, make‐and‐ally, and buy‐and‐ally—which differ in their capabilities and limitations. We demonstrate our reconceptualization's potential with propositions predicting the choice of specific plural sourcing modes.

Decker C., Mellewigt T. (2012): Business Exit and Strategic Change: Sticking to the Knitting or Striking a New Path?

The purpose of this study is to examine the potential of business exit for initiating strategic change in divesting parent firms. In contrast to prior literature that mainly investigates the impact of different antecedents on the likelihood of business exit in general, this study additionally tests the influence of these antecedents on the choice between two exit types with a cross‐industry sample of divesting firms listed in the German CDAX over the time period 1999–2004. A divestiture involving strategic change is a strategic business exit; otherwise it is denoted as status quo preserving. The findings reveal that a relatively highly dissipated focus does not automatically enhance the likelihood of business exit in general and status‐quo‐preserving business exit in particular. CEO turnover and pressures exerted by institutional investors predict neither strategic nor status‐quo‐preserving business exit. Low firm performance does not nurture the likelihood of business exit per se but especially promotes status‐quo‐preserving business exit.

Hoetker G., Mellewigt T. (2009): Choice and performance of governance mechanisms: matching alliance governance to asset type

Formal and relational governance mechanisms are used in strategic alliances to coordinate resources and mitigate the risk of opportunistic behavior. While recent work has shown that these approaches are not mutually exclusive, we understand little about when one approach is superior to the other. Using data on the governance choices and subsequent performance of alliances in the German telecommunications industry, we find that the optimal configuration of formal and relational governance mechanisms depends on the assets involved in an alliance, with formal mechanisms best suited to property‐based assets and relational governance best suited to knowledge‐based assets. Furthermore, a mismatch between governance mechanisms and asset type can harm the performance of the alliance. Our findings contribute to transaction cost economics, the literature on relational governance, and recent work studying their interaction. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Mellewigt T., Ehrmann T., Decker C. (2011): How Does the Franchisor's Choice of Different Control Mechanisms Affect Franchisees’ and Employee-Managers’ Satisfaction?

Satisfaction of franchisees and employee-managers affects the overall performance of a franchise system. We argue that different actors in the same franchise system need to be treated in different ways. The franchisor's choice of control mechanisms affects the satisfaction of franchisees and employee-managers differently. To our knowledge this is the first study that gathers primary data from franchisees and employee-managers in the same franchise system at the store level with almost identical questionnaires. We show based on data from the largest German franchise system that outcome control leads to higher satisfaction among franchisees and employee-managers, while behavior control enhances employee-managers’ satisfaction. Thereby, outcome control leads to higher satisfaction among more experienced franchisees, while behavior control enhances both highly and lowly experienced employee-managers’ satisfaction. Our results suggest that franchisors face a dilemma: On the one hand, behavior control is associated with high costs and has no impact on franchisees’ satisfaction at all. On the other hand, it might still be necessary to prevent franchisees from behaving opportunistically.

Weller I., Holtom B. C., Matiaske W., Mellewigt T. (2009): Level and Time Effects of Recruitment Sources on Early Voluntary Turnover

To better understand the effects of recruitment source on the level and timing of organizational departure, a turnover model incorporating dynamic predictors was examined. A large, longitudinal sample containing both stayers and leavers was analyzed with parametric survival models. Results indicate that the turnover hazard function for individuals recruited through personal recruitment sources was lower early in an employee’s tenure than for individuals recruited through formal sources. Moreover, the peak of the turnover hazard was delayed significantly for such employees. However, the turnover rate differential due to the use of personal recruitment methods clearly diminished as tenure increased. Further, the recruitment source effect on the turnover hazard was partially mediated by job satisfaction. The pattern of results observed expands understanding of the unfolding model of turnover.

Mellewigt T., Madhok A., Weibel A. (2007): Trust and formal contracts in interorganizational relationships — substitutes and complements

We hypothesize that trust is a moderator of the direct relationship between control and coordination concerns and contractual complexity. Our results suggest that high trust weakens the positive relationship between control concerns and contractual complexity and reinforces the positive relationship between coordination concerns and contractual complexity. By highlighting the dual role of contracts (i.e. a controlling and coordinating function) and the moderating role of trust in this regard, our paper provides a new focus to the current discussion on the relationship between trust and contracts (i.e. substitutes or complements) that may help reconcile some divergent perspectives in the literature.

Reuer J.J., Ariño A., Mellewigt T. (2006): Entrepreneurial alliances as contractual forms

Advancing upon taxonomical research on interfirm alliances, we investigate the design of entrepreneurial firms' alliances in more fine-grained terms by focusing on the specific contractual provisions that firms negotiate into their alliance contracts. Drawing upon transaction cost arguments, we examine the determinants of the contractual complexity of collaborative agreements in the German telecommunications industry. The findings reveal that alliance contracts vary greatly in their complexity, yet contracts for non-equity alliances tend to be no more or less complex than those for equity alliances on average. Furthermore, multivariate findings on the roles of transaction-specific investment, relational capital, search costs, and so forth demonstrate that firms' contractual and governance choices have distinct antecedents.