Strategic Entrepreneurship: Alliances, Mergers & Networks

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Strategic entrepreneurship, as an area of research, borrows from, and integrates entrepreneurial and strategic theoretical perspectives in an attempt to explain competitive advantage and entrepreneurial activity. Discovering and exploiting opportunities is the cornerstone of the entrepreneurial challenge of (emerging) organisations, while strategic management is about advantage seeking actions of organisations. The combination of these two perspectives and areas of research generates interesting new theoretical vistas and research questions for examining central organisational phenomena, such as alliances, mergers and innovation networks.

Over the past decades, we have witnessed enormous growth in alliance and mergers activity, and the use of networks to access critical information and knowledge. Within this course, we will bring these three related organisational phenomena together using the strategic entrepreneurship lens. Alliances have emerged as an important way to acquire the resources and capabilities necessary to compete. They provide access to new resources or novel markets, which may improve their ability to discover opportunities or strengthen their competitive position. The network perspective is of interest because it focuses on the role of social capital. Networks involve relationships with customers, suppliers, and competitors among others and often go beyond industry boundaries. Network ties provide firms with information and knowledge about markets and technologies. Firms are able to structure their networks to profit from the social capital embedded in the ties that connects them to their industry and stakeholders. The strategic perspective of mergers is well established. But what about the strategic entrepreneurship perspective? Some recent studies have explained acquisitions or mergers in terms of strategic entrepreneurship, suggesting, for example, that it improves our understanding of recent mergers/acquisitions by firms from emerging economies of Western-based firms.

In summary, the three phenomena can be examined from both an opportunity seeking perspective and an advantage seeking perspective and can therefore be positioned at the crossroads of the strategy and entrepreneurship field. There are clear advantages to be derived from a closer integration of the theory and method applications across the entrepreneurship and strategy domains. However, such integration will not be without its challenges and within the course we will discuss theories and methods from a comparative perspective, and also suggest ways in which particular theory strands or methods at different levels of analysis can be bridged and connected.  

The general aim of the course is to offer advanced theories, insights and methods on the recent developments and key building blocks of strategic entrepreneurship. In particular, recent contributions to this domain from the entrepreneurship and strategy field and from work on alliances, mergers and network will be discussed in order to gain knowledge about the recent advances, research challenges and to create a future research agenda.

Find the Strategic Entrepreneurship's announcement document here.