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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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