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We explore the conditions enabling partners in strategic alliances to acquire valuable technological knowledge from each other, and to specialize in complementary areas. Our findings show that knowledge acquisition across alliance partners is maximized when the technological knowledge bases of alliance partners are moderately similar, whereas highly similar or highly dissimilar knowledge bases enable partners to specialize in complementary areas. Moreover, both knowledge acquisition and specialization are enhanced when partners have experience in prior alliances. In rare cases, we observed knowledge acquisition and specialization occurring simultaneously between partners with similar knowledge bases and prior alliance experience.

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Korcan Kavusan

Korcan Kavusan

Erasmus University

Korcan Kavusan is an Assistant Professor of Global Strategy in the Department of Strategic Management & Entrepreneurship, Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, the Netherlands. He obtained his Ph.D. in 2014 in Tilburg University, the Netherlands. His...

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Niels Noorderhaven

Niels Noorderhaven

Tilburg University

Niels Noorderhaven is professor of International Management, associate dean for internationalization and head of the department of Management, all at Tilburg University, the Netherlands. He also is a visiting professor at LUISS University in Rome. His research focuses...

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Geert Duysters

Geert Duysters

Tilburg University

Geert Duysters is a full professor of entrepreneurship and innovation at Tilburg University. He currently acts as vice dean of research at the Tilburg School of Economics and Management (TISEM). He is also the scientific director of CentER. CentER is an internationally...

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