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PROGRAMME THURSDAY – JANUARY 19 – PLENARY LECTURES- 'STOREFJELLHALLEN 1' 12:00 – 14:00 Lunch, Set up Posters 14:00 – 14:15 Opening - Welcome John W. Einset 14:15 – 15:00 Plenary Lecture Professor Jesper V. Olsen Chairman: John W. Einset Quantitative phosphoproteomics and its applications in cell signaling 15:00 – 15:45 Plenary Lecture Professor Colin Hill Chairman: Dzung Diep Modified bacterial peptides, playing an important role in gut health 15:45 – 17:00 Exhibitions and Poster session– 'STOREFJELLHALLEN 1 & 2' 17:00 – 17:45 Plenary Lecture Associate professor Gro Amdam
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Strategic Alliance
—Case Study of Lenovo and IBM


By

Lili Jiang



Dissertation submitted to the University of Nottingham Business
School, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Science in International Business

September 2007


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

First of all, I would like to thank my supervisor Bernard Leca for his support and very help
advices throughout this research. Then I would like to thank my family for giving me this
opportunity to study abroad, and always believing in me and caring about me. And also, I am
enormously grateful to the people work in Lenovo who were willing to participate in the
electronic interview, without this, I cannot get the precious primary data to support my research.
Last but not least, I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to all my good
friends, especially to Yanqi and Jingren, for their help and encouragement during this period.














1 ABSTRACT

Strategic alliance gains high popularity in recent decades and has become an increasingly
favorable choice for the company that intends to attain a competitive edge over other rivals so
as to make a stand in the global market. Facing with the rapid globalization trend and dramatic
economic development, it is almost impossible for any companies to develop individually, just
as Doz and Hamel (1998) argue that in this new world, networks, coalitions, alliances, and
strategic partnerships are not an option but a necessity for companies to achieve competitive
success.

Till now, several economists and strategists have examined the strategic alliance in a deep and
extensive way, establishing a solid theoretical foundation for later research. These various
theories and principles identify motivations to the formation of alliances, how to make the
alliance work, classifying the benefits brought with successful alliances, and etc. However, as
stated by these authors that the failure rate of strategic alliance is quite high especially in the
early stage, the research on how to make the alliance work during this unstable period is
relatively little.

Hence, the objective of this paper is to evaluate the alliance between Lenovo and IBM, a
cross-boarder alliance between a Chinese and a U.S. company, and to analyze how to make the
alliance work in the early stage of the relationship.


2 TABLE OF CONTENTS

Acknowledgements 1
Abstract 2
Table of Contents 3
List of Tables and Figures 6


Chapter 1: Introduction…………………………………………………………..7

Chapter 2: Literature Review on Strategic Alliances……………………………10
2.1 Definitions of Strategic Alliances………………………………………………….10
2.2 Motives toward Strategic Alliances………………………………………………..14
2.3 Failure Rate of Strategic Alliances…………………………………………………15
2.4 Managing Partnership in the Early Stage of Strategic Alliances…………………..18
2.4.1 The Necessity of Early Stage Alliance Management……………………...18
2.4.2 Trust-Building……………………………………………………………...20
2.4.3 Cultural Compatibility……………………………………………………..22
2.5 Learning Ability during the Strategic Alliance……………………………………..24
2.6 Brand Management under the Strategic Alliance…………………………………...26



3 Chapter 3: Methodology……………………………………………………………30
3.1 Research Approach…………………………………………………………………30
3.2 Data Collection……………………………………………………………………..35
3.3 Data Analysis………………………………………………………………………36
3.4 Limitation of the Research………………………………………………………....37

Chapter 4: Research Setting……………………………………………………….39
4.1 Background of the Company………………………………………………………41
4.2 The Strategic Alliance with IBM…………………………………………………..43
4.3 The Necessity to Form the Strategic Alliance……………………………………...44
4.4 Motives toward Lenovo & IBM’s Strategic Alliance………………………………45

Chapter 5: Analysis on the Strategic Alliance…………………………………….49
5.1 Analysis—Secondary Date………………………………………………………...49
5.1.1 Problems Occurred in the Early Stage of the Alliance……………………49
5.2.2 Measures Have Been Taken and the Evaluation………………………….58
5.2 Analysis—Electronic Interviews………………………………………………….61
5.2.1 The Main Questions Raised in the Electronic Interview…………………61
5.2.2 Findings from the Electronic Interview………………………………….62
5.2.3 Measures to Be Taken and Limitations…………………………………..65



4 Chapter 6: Discussion……………………………………………………………..70
6.1 Theoretical Insights…………………………………………………………….....70
6.2 Managerial Insights……………………………………………………………….71
6.3 Methodological Insights…………………………………………………………..72

Chapter 7: Conclusion……………………………………………………………..75


Appendix A—Questionnaire of the Strategic Alliance between Lenovo and IBM………..77


References…………………………………………………………………………..79













5
LIST OF TABLES AND FIGURES


Tables:
Table 1: Different types of strategic alliance………………………………………………….12
Table 2: Five forms of complex alliances……………………………………………………..13
Table 3: Comparison between analysis from secondary data and electronic interview ……73-74


Figures:
Figure 1: Phases of Alliance Development and the Evolution of Trust………………………21
Figure 2: Lenovo Share Price…………………………………………………………………52










6 CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION

Globalization is a trend of the world nowadays; it can also be a very expensive process, as it
requires the firm to own a well-developed R&D capabilities, financial support, production,
distribution network, sales & marketing skills so as to make an outstanding over its rivals
internationally. However, a firm may discover that it lacks at least some of the necessary
internal resources to effectively extend its global reach. Therefore, in most occasions, a firm
may seek for partners to share the cost as well as the risk in this process.

As Doz and Hamel (1998) indicate that the races for the world and the future require the
development of insights, capabilities, and infrastructures at an ever-faster pace that few
companies can master, and yet they must be swifter if strategic advantage is to be obtained. If a
company cannot position itself quickly and correctly, it will miss important opportunities and
be far lagged behind the tidal wave, therefore the strategic alliance between different firms have
emerged as the vehicle of choice for many companies in both the race for the world and the race
for the future (Doz and Hamel, 1998). Strategic alliance has become a favorable choice for
many multinational companies as a strategy responding to rapid economic development and
increasingly fierce competition in the global market (Gulroy, 1993). Compared with other
widely adopted strategies, such as mergers and acquisitions, major companies prefer to choose
the ‘bond’ option rather than the ‘buy’ or ‘build’ option to stimulate growth and increase
corporate wealth (Pekar and Margulis, 2003, p.50). With the prevalence of the strategic alliance
thin recent decades especially in the last years of the 20 century, Cyrus and Freidham (1999)
believe that it will become the primary way of global consolidation in the near future, and it
7 may also become the most powerful tool to maintain a firm’s sustainable competitive edge.

China, as one of the biggest and most prosperous markets in the world, cannot be exclusive in
this overwhelming trend. Facing with the opportunities and challenges brought with the
opening-up policy and entry of WTO, many big corporations in China, like TCL and Lenovo,
are intending to go outside as a multinational firm and create a globally recognized brand
through co-operation and competition with their rivals, thus, strategic alliance becomes one of
the popular business strategies in the globalization process. Besides that, as Doz and Hamel
(1998) argue that in this new world, networks, coalitions, alliances, and strategic partnerships
are not an option but a necessity for companies to achieve competitive success.

However, the failure rate of the strategic alliance is quite high, especially for the cross-boarder
alliance, which is most often confronting with very different cultures. Therefore, the aim of the
research is to evaluate the strategic alliance between Lenovo and IBM—a cross-border alliance
between a typical young Chinese company and a well-recognized western multinational
corporation, and to analyze how to make the alliance work in the early stage of the relationship
to ensure the success of the marriage.

The paper is organized as follows. Chapter one is a brief introduction of the case study on the
alliance between Lenovo and IBM. Chapter two reviews the theoretical foundation of strategic
alliances, mainly focuses on issues like motivations to alliances, as well as the issues that
closely related to the success of an alliance in the initial stage. Chapter three describes the
methodology that is applied in this research. Chapter four gives the context of this research that
8 the company has encountered both from outside and inside. Chapter five then examines the case
in deeper insights from the analysis based on both the primary and secondary data towards this
alliance. Chapter six is the discussion part that induces the insights from theoretical, managerial
and methodological level respectively. The last chapter draws lessons from the strategic
alliance between Lenovo and IBM and summarizes the extensive research.


















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