What do firms from transition economies want from their strategic alliance partners?

Michael YOUNG*, David Ahlstrom, Garry D. Bruton, Yuri Rubanik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


A financial system engaged in active transition from central planning to free market may be dubbed a transition economy. On today's global landscape, there are several important transition economies, all at various stages of transition and with differing degrees of success. Yet, much is not known about this important sector of the world economy. As outside enterprises seek alliances with firms from transition economies, it is important to know what these firms want from alliance partners. To learn more, we conducted a study interviewing managers of private firms from the two largest and most strategically important transition economies: China and Russia. We found that while Chinese and Russian firms often hope for some of the same things as their counterparts in mature economies as regards alliances, they are also interested in other things not normally associated with alliances: political influence, relief from paying bribes, and protection from extortion or even violence. Moreover, we discovered that because of differing institutional conditions in the two countries, Chinese firms are not always looking for the same things from alliances as are Russian firms-in spite of surface similarities between the two economies. Based on these findings, we provide guidelines for firms seeking alliance partners in transition economies, to assist them in determining if an alliance is right for them and planning accordingly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-174
Number of pages12
JournalBusiness Horizons
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Marketing

User-Defined Keywords

  • International expansion
  • Strategic alliances
  • Transition economies


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