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Keller A., Lumineau F., Mellewigt T., Ariño A.: Alliance Governance Mechanisms in the Face of Disruption. (forthcoming)

Existing academic literature has discussed contracts and relational governance as the key mechanisms that help alliance partners address problems of cooperation and coordination. However, when an alliance undergoes disruption, the nature and extent of such problems may change, and so may the value of these mechanisms. This study advances a dynamic perspective on alliance governance by examining the impact of disruption and subsequent adjustment on the value of alliance governance mechanisms. To this end, we longitudinally studied a revelatory case of an R&D alliance in the veterinary drug industry which experienced disruption triggered by an internal restructuring at one of the partner companies. We approached the evidence with a fine-grained typology that builds on two dimensions that underlie governance mechanisms: the means to enforce their ruling principles (contractual vs. relational) and the level of codification of these principles (formal vs. informal). Based on our findings, we: (1) show the significance of this revised typology, which suggests that contractual governance is not necessarily formal and relational governance is not necessarily informal; (2) provide a more systematic discussion of the trade-offs that the various mechanisms entail and how these are altered through disruption and adjustment dynamics; and (3) analyze how the interplay between different types of governance mechanisms evolves following disruption and adjustment. Overall, our study brings the concept of disruption to the dynamic perspective of alliance governance and highlights the contingent value of alliance governance mechanisms.

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.

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.

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.