Academic journal article Contemporary Management Research

Using the Fuzzy Delphi Method to Apply a Model of Knowledge Transfer through International Strategic Alliances in Up-Stream Oil and Gas Sectors

Academic journal article Contemporary Management Research

Using the Fuzzy Delphi Method to Apply a Model of Knowledge Transfer through International Strategic Alliances in Up-Stream Oil and Gas Sectors

Article excerpt


Strategic alliances are considered an effective mechanism for reducing costs and mitigating risks for partners. They have grown exponentially in recent years, especially following the financial crises (Karuranga, Asti, Musonera, & Mohiuddin, 2010) and are now a very popular instrument for global market competition. Many of the world's largest companies have more than 20% of their assets and more than 30% of their annual research expenditures under an alliance framework (Ernst & Bamford, 2005). More than 80% of Fortune 1000 CEOs believe that such alliances accounted for almost 26% of their companies' revenues in 2007-08 (Kale, Singh, & Bell, 2009). Recent contextual and environmental changes in the marketplace have created intense competitions that require rigorous knowledge management for continuous capability development to achieve a competitive advantage. The formation of an alliance among firms can enhance knowledge transfer and knowledge absorptive capacity for organizational capability building. Moreover, the formation of inter-firm alliances is a global phenomenon in almost all industries in the era of alliance capitalism (Contractor & Lorange, 2002). Through social interactions between partners, alliances serve as a platform for knowledge creation and/or learning (Al-Azad, Mohiuddin, & Rashid, 2010). As partners jointly manage efforts and collaborate, opportunities to learn from each other naturally arise. Therefore, ISA can be considered as a mechanism to develop knowledge capital that helps organizations survive in today's competitive business atmosphere. The oil and gas industry is the backbone of any industrialization, yet the market is volatile and needs continuous development of the capabilities for extracting these resources from increasingly tough terrain, such as shale gas. Strategic alliances can bring together several firms and create economy of scale for their capabilities as well as coordinate their complementary capabilities. The trade embargo and relative isolation of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) hinder its ability to benefit from strategic alliances. The current paper thus studies the possibility of capability development via knowledge transfer through international strategic alliances (ISAs) between the NIOC and international oil companies (IOCs), as such ISAs can create a conductive environment for knowledge transfer (KT) and learning among the contracting partners and lead to movement up the value ladder (Mohiuddin & Su, 2014).

Despite an increasing amount of literature on KT, few studies address this topic in the oil and gas industry. These studies focus on the knowledge management mechanism (Carrillo & Chinowsky, 2006) or one aspect of KT, technology issues, (Managi et al., 2005), or the role of the knowledge in the industry (Sasson & Blomgren, 2011). Considering the role of ISAs between NIOC and IOCs, evaluating the outcomes of KT in the partnership agreements is essential. A framework for addressing the leverages of KT in enhancing knowledge capabilities can be a valuable tool for state-owned organizations and policy makers. In this paper, we introduce a conceptual framework to demonstrate the link among ISAs in the upstream oil and gas sector and their role in developing knowledge and capability for the partner companies.

Hence, the objective of the paper is to highlight the link between ISAs and knowledge transfer as well as the capability development in the oil and gas industry. In order to provide an experimental study, we focused on NIOC, the second largest oil and gas company in the world. A corporate strategic alliance between the NIOC and IOCs has a strong potential for developing the NIOC's knowledge capability and enabling it to become competitive in the marketplace.


Strategic alliances are a type of collaboration among two or more companies that have the potential to create more value than the associative value of the individual alliance partner. …

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