Tensions within inter-organizational alliances: A sponsorship case study

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Title

Governance Issues in Strategic Alliances


Information Age Publishing

Place of Publication

Charlotte, USA


Dad, T. K.


School of Business and Law




Morgan, A., Adair, D., Taylor, T., & Hermens, A. (2016). Tensions within inter-organizational alliances: A sponsorship case study. In T.K. Das (Ed), Governance Issues in Strategic Alliances, (pp. 201-223). Carlotte, USA: Information Age Publishing. https://www.infoagepub.com/products/Governance-Issues-in-Strategic-Alliances


This chapter explores internal tensions within interorganizational alliances. We provide an overview of four of the predominant theoretical perspectives adopted by researchers in the area of alliance governance: transaction cost economics, resource-based view, resource dependency theory, and social network theory. It is argued that while there are benefits to studying alliances from each of these perspectives, on their own they fail to address the complexity of alliance governance and specifically tensions within alliances. Consequently, we review the internal alliance tensions framework proposed by Dad and Teng (2000). We agree with Das and Teng's (2000) approach to studying alliance instabilities by examining a set of conflicting forces within the alliance. This framework provided a foundation for the second half of the chapter, which presents the findings of an empirical investigation exploring alliance tensions. The research presented is an exploratory case study of triggers of tension within sport sponsorship alliances. Whilst sport sponsorship is a growing area of research, limited attention has been given to the alliance that forms between a sport organization and their corporate sponsors. The data indicates that key triggers of tension relate to: relationship management, rigidity of alliance management, and inter-partner competitive forces. It is concluded that further research assessing the source and dynamics of interorganisazional alliance tensions is crucial to further our understanding of alliance governance, internal tensions and value creation processes.

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