Exploring Power and Innovation in Multi-party Alliances

Rachel Pacheco, Management, The Wharton School

Abstract: This research project seeks to explore how differences within the members of a multi-party alliance (MPA) — specifically differences in power — impact innovative outcomes of the alliance using a unique dataset of over 345,000 pages of project documents covering approximately 3000 MPAs. Much research has focused on functional, national, or industry differences on outcomes of the MPA, but few, if any, have explicitly explore how power differences impact if and how members within the MPA are better able to access the unique capabilities of their partners because of power differentials. Thus, this research project aims to fill gaps in the existing research of multi-party alliances to understand: how do power differences impact the ability of the MPA to access the unique capabilities of its partners, and specifically, how do power differences impact the innovative outcomes of the MPA? And more broadly, this research projects looks to explore a key pillar in the Mack Institute’s research priorities — “How do firms use alliances to draw on innovative resources beyond their own boundaries?”