The increasing importance of collaborative efforts to corporate strategy makes central the decisions about when, with whom, and how to collaborate. This is particularly true for R&D consortia, where there is even greater uncertainty and ambiguity about the need for and outcomes from collaboration than in other strategic alliances. Too often, managers do not know how to structure these R&D consortia effectively. This article examines three different formation paths. While there are commonalities among these formation processes, each occurs under different combinations of initial onditions. The strength of congruent interests and of social and strategic relationships produces distinctive sets of managerial activities and different outcomes. To help managers improve the odds of success in relying on R&D consortia, this article addresses three critical questions in managing the formation process: How do we assess initial conditions? What are the specific managerial priorities we need to set? What other managerial challenges do we foresee?
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