Academic journal article Journal of Global Business and Technology

Editorial

Academic journal article Journal of Global Business and Technology

Editorial

Article excerpt

To sustain competitiveness, firms are adopting innovation-oriented strategies that leverage innovation through international alliance portfolios and networks - IAP/networks. Consequently, it is important to analyze the relationship between the characteristics of IAPs/networks and innovation performance to find out which ones influence positively the latter. Based on social network theory alliance portfolio - AP can be conceptualized as an ego-centric network, or ego-net (for short) that refers to the network configured by the firm, its direct alliances to partners as well as those between partners. When strategically relevant, linkages between partnerspartners are also taken into account and the AP is analysed considering the focal firm's value net, i.e. the network formed by all actors - partners and non-partners - and their interdependencies. The literature emphasizes this by proposing the expression "AP/network". As to IAP, it is defined as an AP/network that includes alliances with foreign partners. Alliances are defined in keeping with Gulati (1998) as voluntary arrangements between firms, involving exchange, sharing or co-development of products, technologies or services; they are classified according to their intensity that has been associated with performance (Contractor & Lorange, 1988). Firm's innovation performance refers to the quantity of new or significantly improved products, services or processes that it has both developed and commercialized. When the share of these is at once new to the firm and the market, innovation is radical; it is incremental when the share of these is only new to the firm but not to the market (Beers & Zand, 2014), or if these have been improved significantly.

The first research paper by Macedo-Soares, Turano, Esteves, & Porto presents the results of bibliographic research performed between 2001 and 2014 whose objective was twofold: i) to identify firm IAP/network characteristics that have a positive effect on innovation performance; ii) to formulate propositions and present a conceptual model to help analyze the relationship between the most significant firm IAP/network characteristics and innovation performance, considering intervening variables. Since global technology alliances now increasingly include partners from emerging economies (Jacob et al. 2013), special attention is given to IAPs involving the latter.

For the classification of IAP characteristics that influence innovation performance, authors propose a variation of the four alliance network dimensions of Macedo-Soares's (2011) Global SNA (Strategic Network Analysis) Framework. This framework aimed at helping firms that operate in the global market through multiple alliances to carry out their strategic analyses, taking into account the impact of at once industry structural, organizational and relational factors. The IAP/network key dimensions are: 1) IAP/Net; 2) IAP/Net Composition; 3) IAP/Net Linkage Modalities 4) IAP/Net Management. These dimensions and associated constructs originally drew on Galaskiewicz and Zaheer's (1999) as well as Gulati et al. (2000) who argued that network characteristics could influence firm performance.

The literature review was supported by bibliometric studies. Four databases (Scopus, Science Direct, Ebsco Host and Web of Science) were adopted to review literature on IAP published between 2001 and 2014 on alliance portfolios/networks and innovation. Authors thus obtained a sample of 812 articles. Using Bibexcel software, and limiting ourselves to the 450 articles in the Web of Science data base, due to computational limitations, they generated a co-citation matrix, and with the help of SPSS also a map of co-citations to identify clusters of cited works according to dominant theoretical lenses.

After this bibliometric phase, authors conducted a qualitative analysis of all the abstracts of their sample with a view to selecting those articles that were most pertinent to their objective of identifying IAP/network characteristics that positively influence innovation performance. …

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