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Anahi Gutiérrez

Article Analysis: “Collaborate with Your Competitors and Win” by Gary Hamel, Yves L. Doz, and
C.K. Prahalad

Key Words: Strategic alliances, competitive collaboration, partnerships, learning.

Major Thesis: Collaboration is a strategic alliance typically between two firms with the goal of
providing mutual benefit for each firm. Sharing between firms is a smart strategy as long as the
relationship is give-and-take and is one that will benefit both parties without compromising each
of the firm’s competitive position in the industry.

Supporting Ideas:

1. The collaboration is competition in a different form; that harmony is not the most important
measure of success; that cooperation must be limited to avoid against competitive compromise;
and that learning from partners is paramount to success.

2. An organization can prepare defenses to protect against negative to the other firm.

3. The differences in culture among the continents are an important factor in strategic alliances;
Western culture is prone to sharing while Eastern cultures are more closed.

4. The key to successful collaboration is in an organization's ability to learn.


A Strategic alliance can strengthen both companies against outsiders even as it weakens one
partner vis-à-vis the other. Cooperation becomes a low-cost route for new competitors gain
technology and market access.

The study of 15 mergers of three major types: European- Japanese alliances, U.S- European
alliances and U.S.-Japanese alliances found that collaboration is something often used by
successful businesses. Collaboration is competition in a different form. Companies have to
enter collaborations knowing that competition still exists. Harmony is not the most important
measure of success. Most successful alliances do not always have win-win scenarios.
Cooperation has limits. Companies must defend against competitive compromise. Companies
need to make sure that employees at all levels understand what corporate information is off
limits to the partner. Learning from partners is paramount. Remember that Asian companies
focus on learning, while Western companies want to demonstrate their superiority and
leadership. This provides partners with knowledge that will benefit them in the long-term. You
cannot make a Western company want to learn. Western companies have certain arrogance
after decades of leadership that detracts from their ability to learn.

The are mains reasons to collaborate like; gain technological advancement at a relatively low
cost, gain market access at a low cost, gain insights into the partner’s business practices and
strategies, strengthen competitive advantages or core competencies and develop benchmarks
through examination of the practices of the alliance firm.

In order for a strategic alliance and collaboration to be successful is for both parties to be able to
transfer something distinctive to the other party: basic research, product development skills,
manufacturing capacity, access to distribution. To ensure that a strategic alliance does not work
against your company: limit the scope of the formal agreement to specific technologies, cover a
single technology as opposed to an entire range of technologies or limit coverage to specific
markets for a limited amount of time. Establish specific performance requirements with
incremental, incentive-based rewards for effective technology transfer, realize that information
exchange is determined by day-to-day interactions of engineers, marketers and product
developers, limit unintended transfers by using gatekeepers to control contacts and information
flows with a partner and learn as much as possible about your partner's complex processes.

The key to successful collaboration is in an organization's ability to learn. It must have the
willingness to closely examine the functions of its partner and be able to disseminate its learning
throughout its organization to maximize gain. It is self-evident; to learn, one must want to learn
for this exist some points to enhancing the capacity to learn like; learning begins at the top, have
a desire to learn but don’t always play teacher, learn about as many areas as possible, inform
employees on partner’s strengths and weaknesses, acquire particular skills to bolster
competitive position, develop precise benchmarks of partner’s performance, diffuse skills
acquired from partner through organization and predict how rivals behave when alliance
unravels its course.

Running from collaboration is not the answer, is proceeding with care. Remember that
collaboration can be a low-cost strategy for building new process capabilities and winning new
product and technology battles.