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Information technology and telecommunications: impacts on strategic alliance formation and management.

Technology is having a direct impact on the formation and management of strategic alliances

Introduction

This article explores some of the issues for strategic management of alliances resulting from the impacts of information technology and telecommunications. A review of trends in electronic information infrastructure development through strategic alliances is followed by an overview of current alliance theory and issues. Current thinking on the impact of information technology on organization structure and industry networks leads into a case study of the strategic alliances and technology impacts in the Australasian travel and hospitality industry, focusing on a hotel chain.

The new infrastructure

According to Perez and Freeman's[1] definitions of techno-economic paradigms, the world is passing through the growth stage of the fifth paradigm. The microprocessor is the driver of this paradigm, and like drivers of previous techno-economic paradigms, it is creating unprecedented changes in technological, economic, social and philosophical aspects of society[1-6]. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the development of a new information-based infrastructure.

In the early 1990s, Davis and Davidson[7] presented an architecture of information, classified into a matrix with four different forms and four distinct functions. This matrix is presented in Figure 1. Computers originated as data processors and telephones as sound transmitters. The new infrastructure will see all forms using all the functions within the matrix.

Delivery of the new infrastructure will require "fusions" of technology and convergence of the telecommunications, media and computer industries as no one organization can provide the technologies required for the new infrastructure[8]. The following "street directory for the information highway" highlights the major technologies that are being developed and delivered into the new infrastructure:

* Electronic networks: Over 20 million people use electronic mail on 27,000 networks worldwide constituting the INTERNET "mega-network". This figure is currently doubling each year. A consortium is developing a "commercial" strength extension known as Commercenet. Incorporate client-server computing architecture into many of these networks, connect them to the standard telecommunications network, and you have the foundations of the information superhighway.

* Electronic services: New services will be provided through the networks including: electronic ordering, electronic document interchange (EDI), interactive advertising, booking flights or holidays using the global distribution system and multimedia information services.

* The personal computer - towards 2000: The personal computer of the late 1990s will be the critical access point to the superhighway. Standard features will include: large high-resolution TV screens, fax modem, CD-ROM, video camera, integrated telephone, document scanner, e-mail, online services access, electronic transactions, desktop video-conferencing, information filters and provision for groupware computing.

* Personal data assistants: Away from the desk personal computer technology is now being combined with cellular technology to create a new range of small wireless personal computing systems. Apple has released the Newton, the first of a new range of personal digital assistants (PDAs), and there are several competitive products on the way. Features include electronic pen, handwriting recognition and wireless modem systems.

* The mobile revolution: Worldwide cellular networks are now developing rapidly. Combine the cellular network with global positioning system technology and you will be accessible anywhere around the world on your mobile telephone (with built-in personal computer) or wireless laptop or PDA.

* Customized for the bearpit: The personal data assistant concept has been customized for traders on the floor of the Chicago Futures Exchange by Synerdyne Corporation. Special features include: palm-shape moulded steel casing with built-in vibrating pager and velcro strap; cordless electronic pen plus handwriting recognition; ability to use electronically over 500 varieties of trading card formats; special "scrolling" strips; panic button for quick trade orders; wireless data transmission; only 500 grams weight and eight-hour battery supply. This is only the beginning of customizing PDA systems.

* TVTV: Fibre optic cable and digital compression for satellite TV promises significant increases in channel availability. Video-on-demand systems will soon allow subscribers to personalize their programming. Personal computers and mobile systems will take feeds from these technologies inputs for multimedia applications.

The convergence effect is forcing telecommunications, media and computer industry firms to form cross-industry strategic alliances at such a frenetic pace that major new alliances are announced weekly. Some alliances fall by the wayside, while others grow quickly, but all are aimed at building profitable parts of the new infrastructure. The substantially increased requirement for programming content appears to be shifting power within the alliances towards program providers and media organizations. Some of these alliances are highlighted below:

* Time-Warner have established alliances with a number of companies to provide convergent technologies including: Silicon Graphics (interactive video technology), Toshiba (cable converter boxes), US West (telephone network cable), SEGA (video game cable network) and AT&T (high-speed digital switches)[9-11].

* AT&T is focusing on strategic alliances and some recent major links include: LOTUS (notes groupware computing), MCCAW Communications (cellular services), Kokusai Denshin Demwa and Singapore Telecom (Worldsource service), SEGA (video game network) and General Magic(software for wireless transmissions)[10,12].

* Sprint intended to work towards a merger with EDS where EDS can augment its computer management services with telecommunications services and Sprint can gain access to the corporate market[13]. Although the merger appears to have fallen through, the strategic alliance is continuing and expected to bear fruit.

* Pacific Broadband Network, Australia's Pacific Dunlop has established a consortium of companies to form Pacific Broadband Network to supply cable TV channels through Telstar's network. Some of the organizations within this alliance include EDS, Hewlett-Packard and General Instruments.

Some other major telecommunication-media alliance announcements include British Telecom and MCI[14], Bell Atlantic and TCI, Viacom and Blockbuster[15]. Many more can be expected as various national governments privatize or deregulate their telecommunications organizations.

We have looked briefly at convergent strategic alliances in the telecommunications, computer and media industries, but it is important also to consider the impact of the new infrastructure on managing alliances in "conventional" industries.

Definition and purpose of strategic alliances

We have explored a number of definitions of strategic alliances. Different definitions tend to highlight specific features of alliances.

Lei and Slocum[16] define alliances as "coalignments between two or more firms in which the partners hope to learn and acquire from each other the technologies, products, skills, and knowledge that are not otherwise available to their competitors".

Harrigan[17] focuses on the "strategic" aspect of the definition - "Strategic alliances, joint ventures, cooperative agreements etc. are partnerships among firms that work together to attain some strategic objective".

Stafford[18] views alliances as part of the marketing of a product as a "stream of 'value-chain activities' where alliances enable each value chain activity to be accomplished with the help of a partner".

Hinterhuber and Levin[19] view time as a strategic weapon. Strategic alliances of organizations with strong core competences can form a strategic structure of a firm or furthermore an industrial cluster. This view is drawn from their work with German industrial holding companies.

Gomes-Cassares[20] sees networks, clusters, constellations and virtual corporations (and alliances) as the same thing when they are "groups of companies joined together in a larger, overarching relationship".

We have considered these and other definitions of strategic alliances and summarize them in the statement that "Strategic alliance partners contractually pool, exchange or integrate specified business resources for mutual gain. Yet the partners remain separate businesses".

Why are alliances a preferred business strategy? Globalization of industries and organizations appears to move strategic mindsets towards considering strategic alliances. Consortium or virtual corporation strategies to go beyond the firm's own capabilities are also powerful catalysts for strategic alliances. Following on from these issues, other strategic alliance driving factors include:

* moving into new markets;

* filling knowledge gaps;

* pooling to gain operational economies;

* building complementary resource capabilities;

* speed up new product introduction (time-based competition);

* diversification.

On the last point, strategic alliances are now often seen as a more effective diversification strategy than the traditional conglomerate approach.

To classify strategic alliance types we have chosen Stafford's co-operative strategies typology outlined in Table I.

Strategic alliances issues

There are several issues related to strategic alliances. Some of these issues are: length, failure rate, challenges and obstacles, human relational behaviour, power imbalances and management energy.

There appears to be an unstated assumption or intent that strategic alliances are long-term relationships although no length is defined. It will be interesting to see if this assumption will hold or be significantly reduced as time-based competition increases.

Most strategic alliances do not seem to have lived up to initial management expectations over time. Stafford[21] makes the point that seven out of ten joint ventures fail to meet either partners' management expectations.

There are many challenges and obstacles to strategic alliances and these are summarized by Lorange et al.[22] as:

* autonomy (of alliance members);

* forward momentum;

* focus on the external environment;

* politicking (internal agendas that may go against alliance development);

* change and innovation (commitment);

* learning (desire and commitment to learning about each other);

* people (having the best people committed to the alliance);

* "black box" (fear of giving up something);

* culture;

* co-operation.

Harrigan[17] has studied alliance partner asymmetrics and makes the following observations about the success of strategic alliances:

* Ventures tend to be more successful where partners are homogeneous.

* Ventures are less successful where neither partner is related to its venture.

* Ventures last longer between partners of similar cultures, asset sizes and venturing experience levels.

[TABULAR DATA FOR TABLE I OMITTED]

Increasingly, strategic alliances are being compared with human relational behaviour, particularly romances and marriages. Kanter[23] identifies the process of alliance formation and maintenance directly to marriage, while the Business International Group[24] uses a typology of alliance relationships matching different types of human couple relationships. Consequently many manuals on managing alliances could be mistaken for looking more like marriage counselling guides! Bucklin and Sengupta[25] have evaluated co-marketing (strategic) alliances in terms of power imbalances and have found significant correlations between power imbalances of alliance partners and alliance effectiveness.

Gomes-Cassares[20] highlights the high levels of management energy required to maintain and develop alliances with a substantial number of members. This is a special problem for management of the alliance founder or driving company. The management of MIPS Inc. expended very high levels of management energy to form and maintain the advanced computing environment (ACE), which proposed the MIPS R4000 RISC computer chip for standard use in the consortium. Despite the high level of management energy expended, the ACE consortium foundered and MIPS Inc. was eventually taken over by Silicon Graphics Inc.[20].

The issues outlined above point towards a complex set of human behaviours that may make or break the formation and development of strategic alliances.

The new organization

Strategic alliances have also to be considered within the context of current organizational change trends. There are definite signs that organizational change and technology are converging to produce new organization structures.

Davidow and Malone[26] have consolidated a vision where the new technology infrastructure will be the foundation for a new form of organization - the "virtual corporation" - where firms and individuals will be electronically connected through the new infrastructure.

Naisbitt[4] has a slightly different vision where there will be a highly-integrated, global electronic infrastructure, with small groups using the structure but preserving and even strengthening their identity[4, Ch. 1, p. 12].

Recent reports suggest that using the new infrastructure will encourage organizational structure mirroring the electronic networks. Old hierarchical structures will not be compatible with the new infrastructure[27].

There is increasing evidence that the new infrastructure will have profound impacts on channels of distribution. Some examples are highlighted below.

* Fewer intermediaries will be required as consumers make more airline and hotel reservations themselves using online services.

* Faster decision making as retailers, grocery chains and manufacturers sift through detailed sales coming to mere almost immediately from point-of-sale systems through electronic networks. These groups can then apply more pressure on their channel partners.

* Equal access to data as independent sources collect comprehensive data electronically from retailers and sell it to different groups within a channel. A good example is the US music industry where data are collected electronically from over 14,000 retailers by an independent source. This technique is more accurate than using projected sampling techniques to estimate sales[28].

We assume that human relationships between alliance members are the main influencers on the development and maintenance of strategic alliances. This is especially so for senior management and also for middle management However, we believe that technology, particularly the new infrastructure, is emerging as an important factor in managing strategic alliances.

Given that most organizations have to invest to build their internal part of the infrastructure, it is interesting to see how they have been faring with this exercise. Also of interest are their expectations for managing strategic alliances as they implement new elements of the infrastructure over the rest of the decade.

This review of current theory and practice of both alliance development and technology raises many questions regarding their interfaces. In this article we can only address some of these issues, using the following case study of the travel and hospitality industry. In particular, the following issues are considered:

* technology's impact on creation and development of virtual corporations;

* strategic opportunities and barriers to entry created by technology;

* the impact of technology on both binding and strengthening alliances;

* power shifts brought about by technology.

Hotel industry case study

Background

This case study of alliance relationships and communications technologies used by Radisson Hotels Australia (RHA)[29] operating in the Australasian travel and hotel environment was compiled from several interviews and discussions with senior executives in Radisson[30]. RHA is licensed by Radisson Hotels International (PHI) to provide hotel management services to hotel property owners using the Radisson name and systems in Australia, New Zealand and the South West Pacific, including selected Asian countries. The Radisson Hotel brand was developed in USA in the early 1960s and expanded internationally during the 1980s. RHI is a member of the Carlson Group, one of the world's largest travel and hospitality organizations.

The travel and hospitality industry network

The development of the Sabre reservations system by American Airlines and the Galileo system by a European airlines consortium have formed the basis for what is now called the Global Distribution System (GDS) linking travel agents and other channel intermediaries with airline, hotel and other travel related services. In Australia a group called TIAS (Travel Industry Automated Services) owned by Qantas, Ansett and Air New Zealand, developed a reservation system which was subsequently replaced by the Sabre and Galileo systems.

TIAS owns the National Marketing Companies Fantasia and Southern Cross, which in turn market Sabre and Galileo throughout the travel industry. Sabre and Galileo have about 90 per cent share of penetration of the Australian travel industry. Another GDS, Abacus, has been developed by a consortium of Asian airline carriers, having about 10 per cent share of penetration of Australian travel agents and other service providers. Australian access to the global distribution system is shown in Figure 2.

TIAS is continually developing new technology-based networks, a recent one linking American Express services, enabling travel agents to buy travellers cheques on behalf of their clients through the GDS. These networks provide different levels of connectivity by service providers from computer accessed online immediate confirmation of service to various levels of detailed confirmation requiring the use of telefax.

The system enables travel agents and wholesalers to interconnect with the reservation systems of airlines, hotels, rental car firms, coach companies and entertainment services. RHI links with the GDSs its centrally managed global reservation system, known as Pierre - shown in Figure 3. An information system, called Harmony, is progressively being implemented to provide online linkage between Radisson hotels and Pierre.

Radisson Hotel Australia's strategic alliances

Using Stafford's co-operative strategies typology of alliance types shown in Table I, RHA's main strategic alliances are shown in Table II. Most are contract relationships involving hand over and trade strategies. Three alliances are "pool" strategies with joint-venture relationships.

RHA's strategic alliance relationships are shown in more detail in Figure 4. Its most important alliance is with RHI which is a contract as an exclusive licensee to develop the Radisson Hotel franchise in Australia and the South West Pacific.

Three types of co-operative strategies operate between RHI and RHA. RHI's provision of its centralized Pierre reservation system provides the trading network for RHA to receive reservations for its hotels and give reservations to other regions of the RHI group. RHI also provides a hand-over of its brand name, hotel systems, Radisson product types, training and advertising/sales support. RHI's resource support of RHA's Asian developments represents a "pool" co-operative strategy. Both RHI and RHA have a hand-over contract with TIAS which links the Pierre reservation system with the Sabre and Galileo distribution systems. RHI and RHA pay a fee for usage of these systems when bookings are made in Radisson hotels.

RHA's contractual relationship with individual property owners represents a trade strategy. RHA has individual contracts with each property owner who provides a hotel building and working capital. RHA provides the Radisson brand name, network, hotel systems and management services.

The Qantas contract with RHI includes RHA hotels. Qantas has provided Radisson with co-operative advertising and joint promotion of Radisson properties to enable its frequent flyers to obtain points towards free tickets from their accommodation. Radisson enhances the relationship between Qantas and its frequent flyers while gaining accommodation revenue from the relationship.

RHA also has a trade relationship with Ansett Airlines and other package holiday sections of major airlines to the leisure market in the form of short-term joint [TABULAR DATA FOR TABLE II OMITTED] promotions of package holidays incorporating Radisson resort hotels.

The Telecom/RHA trade is an alliance which makes Telecom the main supplier of telecommunications products and services to Radisson in return for preferred usage by Telecom staff of Radisson Hotels. RHA has three joint ventures involving pooling strategies. Joint venture companies set up in Malaysia and the Philippines involve powerful local groups. RHA provides hotel management services pooled with political and commercial networks provided by partners in Malaysia and the Philippines.

An acquisitive joint venture with an Indonesian partner where the partner has acquired a minority equity in RHA is a similar pooling strategy using the Indonesian partner's commercial contacts in its home country.

Technology and telecommunications

The types of telecommunications media used between RHA and its alliance partners are shown in Figure 5. Most relationships currently use only telephone and facsimile. Some alliance partners use e-mail. Also included are hotel suppliers as a group, some of which have e-mail links. The telecommunications link between the GDSs and RHI and in turn to RHA is a permanent infrastructure link.

Main observations of the case study

A number of technology impacts can be identified in the RHA alliance structure. These impacts are presented in two groups - strategic alliance formation and strategic alliance management.

Strategic alliance formation

The Radisson group reflects a virtual corporation through the alliance structure of RHI, RHA and independent hotel property owners, the relationships being transparent to the end consumers of hotel services.

This has been made possible by the linkages provided by the global travel distribution system and its interface with RHI's Pierre reservation system.

As a consequence a hierarchical organization structure does not exist in this case. This might exist in a vertically integrated ownership arrangement if RHI owned its licensee (RHA) and hotel properties in Australia.

The relationships between RHI, RHA and property owners are more horizontal and this is reflected in flatter structures in each entity and communication flows between all three. While it can be argued that this is due to separate ownership, it appears to be enhanced by the access to the Pierre reservation system and e-mail communication, particularly between RHI and RHA. This widens the communications net between people in the three entities.

RHA's salesforce is progressively being equipped with notebook computers, modems and mobile phones which enable them to complete corporate contracts at the client's office and transmit to the RHA centre and the hotels involved simultaneously.

Strategic intent

Strategic alliances technology generally follows strategic intent. RHA's strategic intent is to be the dominant hotel chain in the Asia Pacific region. Required core competences will be excellent properties and world class hotel management services including information and communication technology.

RHA's strategic alliances to date reflect their strategic intent. However, current implementation of technology as a core competence has brought mixed results in these alliances.

In some instances, the level of existing technology between alliance partners can successfully cement strategic alliances (for example, Qantas and Ansett Airlines - see separate points below).

As far as strategic alliances with the Malaysian, Indonesian and Philippine alliance partners are concerned, the strategic intent has been activated but, although we have expressed confident expectations about the impact of the new technology earlier in this article, it is yet to be implemented.

In the case of the Telecom/RHA alliance there has been no real implementation of information and communication technology. The absence of a centralized customer database means that client usage of Radisson Hotels around the world cannot be easily measured. Manual systems are used to measure business from key corporate accounts. While Telecom's business with RHA hotels is evaluated (through manual compilation) as a key account, it is not necessarily evaluated as if it were a strategic alliance in line with RHA's strategic intent.

Barrier to entry

Market access would be excluded without online access from RHI's Pierre reservation system to travel agents through the Sabre and Galileo systems. If a travel service provider is not linked to these systems a large part of the market is inaccessible and the technology represents a barrier to entry. However, entry to these can open up opportunities to create and deliver multimedia products providing details of Radisson properties to travel agents and the marketing and management of reward/incentive schemes for travel agency volume business - all electronically through the GDSs.

Technology comparability

Formation of alliances between RHA and individual property owners will be conditional on information and communication technology compatibility, as RHA implement its client-server computer architecture plus other new infrastructure technology.

Hotel properties within RHA's portfolio have information systems of widely varying ages and capabilities. These systems range from small personal computers with accounting and simple reservation systems with no external communication links, to fairly large minicomputer systems with substantial hotel management systems plus in-house hotel networks but still with very limited and often incompatible access to external systems.

RHA is planning to standardize its information and communication technology through the implementation of a client-server computer network, e-mail and EDI. This plan, to be implemented over the next five years, is expected to affect strategic alliances with property owners significantly. Access to and selection of properties to become part of the RHA system will become conditional on their ability to interface the RHA communication and reservation network. Hence, technology will play a more significant role in alliance selection and formation.

Strategic alliances

Strategic alliances can be implemented quickly where there is strong communications technology compatibility.

The ability of both RHI and RHA to interface directly with Qantas's frequent flyer system opened the way for a strategic alliance which would not have been possible without the required information technology. While it took almost a year to reach agreement on the alliance contract, implementation through a joint marketing campaign meant that the alliance was implemented in a matter of weeks, solidifying the relationship. Plans to upgrade the communications technology links between the two companies is expected to strengthen the alliance.

The original RHI/RHA contract resembled a hand-over by RIll of technology and systems in return for fees. The growth of RHA and use of the Pierre reservation system has added a "trade" strategy to the alliance in which RHA also contributes clients to RHI's global network of hotels. As RHA adds more hotels to its Australasian network it provides more coverage and appeal to RHI's global network of hotels and services.

In these cases technology has increased the speed of implementation of initiatives and enhanced the communication between alliance partner managers, thus significantly strengthening the alliances. If technology investment is already in place it appears that new alliance strategies can be initiated and implemented more rapidly.

Strategic alliance management

Effective information and communication technology will assist in the monitoring of strategic alliance success or failure.

As described earlier RHA's implementation of its information and communication technology plan should strengthen alliance positions from RHA's point of view. This will enable faster measurement of hotel performance and opportunities for time-based competition. Faster measurement should allow RHA to detect marketing campaign success or failure much earlier and to respond accordingly. Implementation particularly of a yield management system will enable monitoring of particular alliances down to an intensive micro level.

Alliance power

Implementation of RHA's new information and communication technology will shift alliance power towards RHA.

Any moves by RHA towards a centralized inventory management system to assist demand and yield strategies is expected to shift hotel control from the hotel owners towards RHA. However, from RHA's point of view, this shift will enable faster measurement of hotel performance and opportunities for time-based competition.

This power shift is expected to be replicated internationally as RHA implements its information and communication technology through its alliance partners in Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and future markets.

Different alliance types

Implementation of new information and communication technology may open up opportunities for an increased number of different alliance types between the same partners.

Introduction of new information and communication technologies has enabled RHA and RHI to establish different alliance types with each other. Initially, the RHA/RHI alliance was a hand-over contract cooperative strategy. Development of the Pierre reservation system saw the creation of a trade contract alliance between RHA and RHI. Further, RHI-supported market development currently being undertaken in the Asia-Pacific region constitutes a pooling alliance between RHA and RHI

There may be additional alliance types developed between suppliers, hotel owners and RHA as EDI and electronic ordering systems are implemented, either directly with the partners or through larger encompassing agreements.

Development of additional alliance types between the same members will strengthen the overall strategic alliance. However, the new alliance types may change the degree of power between the partners.

Permanent or temporary alliances

Certain types of network technology can bind alliances more permanently, while others make for temporary alliances.

The RHA/Qantas alliance, using its frequent flyers reward system, requires a specific investment by its partners which will tend to bind the alliance. Here the investment required is for direct and ongoing partner linkages and suggests a longer term commitment.

RHA has seasonally-based alliances with Ansett Airlines and the package holiday sections of the major airlines. However, booking package holidays through the Sabre and Galileo GDSs usually requires accessing the GDS and booking most of the elements in a package separately not through one integrated code (e.g. flights, hotels, cam are all booked separately). There is room for considerable network technology improvement in this area.

Nevertheless, with expected technological improvements, easy accessibility to, and improved flexibility of, the GDSs appears to shorten the timeframe within which these alliances can be formed and implemented. The GDSs create flexibility enabling alliances to run marketing campaigns within a season. These would be examples of indirect partner communication technology linkages (e.g. RHA to GDS to Ansett).

Use of e-mail

The use of e-mail has enhanced communication and reduced the problems of spatial separation between RH's offices, travelling executives, its Australian and Asian alliance partners and RHI.

RHA's joint ventures have required extensive personal meetings to form and develop these relationships. However, RHA executives generally felt that implementation of e-mail systems significantly improved communications between alliance partners, thus providing effective complementary follow-on to the personal meetings. It will be interesting to see as more organizations join electronic networks (particularly common networks such as Internet or Commercenet) if the number of extensive personal meetings will be lessened to form and maintain strategic alliances.

The impact of technology and communications on intermediaries is not clear in this case.

Potentially, the use of EDI between RHA and its suppliers could affect wholesalers and dealers. For instance, RHA has an alliance with Compaq which guarantees hardware price when purchased from any Compaq dealer. Access to the Sabre or Galileo networks by corporations and consumers could bypass travel agents, although no information was available on this potential impact.

Future research

This exploratory case study of the impacts of information technology and telecommunications on strategic alliances in the travel and hotel industry points to some preliminary conclusions and implications for strategic alliance formation and management. These conclusions must be viewed within the limitations of the single case study undertaken. They need rigorous testing and could form the basis for hypotheses to be tested through more extensive research.

There are many fruitful areas for further research. Some suggestions follow. A longitudinal study of technology uptake in the travel and hospitality industry and its impact on existing alliances would be useful. This may also track power changes between alliance partners. Research on strategic alliances from multiple alliance member perspectives would provide greater insight into the impacts of communication and information technology on their relationships. Comparisons of competitors' alliances in the same industry related to technology changes would provide a comparative study of alliance success over time.

More focused research on the impact of technology on alliance formation, management or alliance termination is a further useful avenue. Alternatively, a comparative study across several industries would yield potential for hypothesis testing and more generalizable conclusions.

Notes and references

1. Perez, C. and Freeman, C. "Structural crises of adjustment, business cycles and investment behaviour", in Dosi, G., Freeman, C. Nelson, R., Silverberg, G. and Soete, L. (Eds), Technical Change and Economic Theory, Printer Publishers, London, 1988, Table 3.1, pp. 50-7.

2. "Your desktop in the year 1996", Fortune, 11 July 1994, p. 48.

3. "On the road with portable PCs", Fortune, 11 July 1994, pp. 59-62.

4. Naisbitt, J., Global Paradox, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1994, pp. 57-8.

5. "Augmenting your desktop with telecom", Fortune, 11 July 1994, pp. 64-6.

6. "A handheld computer that's combat-hardened", Business Week, 18 April 1994, pp. 56-7.

7. Davis, S. and Davidson, B., 2020 Vision, Simon & Shuster, New York, NY, 1991, p. 25.

8. Kodama, F., "Technology fusion and the new R&D", Harvard Business Review, July-August 1993, p. 70.

9. "Time Warner's techie at the top", 10 May 1993, Business Week, pp. 48-9.

10. See also "SEGA!", Business Week, 21 February 1994, pp. 38-9.

11. "The gee whiz company", Business Week, 18 July 1994, p. 51.

12. "AT&T's bold bet", Business Week, 30 August 1993, p. 28-9.

13. "Eat your heart out, Ross Perot", Business Week, 30 May 1994, pp. 28-9.

14. "Who's afraid of A&T? Not MCI and British Telecom", Business Week, 14 June 1993, pp. 22-3.

15. "Collapse on the info highway", Business Week, 7 March 1994, pp. 30-1.

16. Lei, D. and Slocum, J.W., "Global strategy, competence-building and strategic alliances", California Management Review, Fall 1992, pp. 81-2.

17. Harrigan, K.R., Strategic Alliances and Partner Asymmetries, paper number 54, Strategy Research Centre, Graduate School of Business, Columbia University, New York, N.Y.

18. Stafford, E.E., "Using co-operative strategies to make alliances work", Long-Range Planning, June 1994, p. 65.

19. Hinterhuber, H.H. and Levin, B.M., "Strategic network - the organisation of the future", Long-Range Planning, June 1994, p. 43.

20. Gomes-Cassares, B., "Group versus group: how alliance networks compete", Harvard Business Review, July-August 1994, p. 62.

21. Stafford[18], p. 64 referring to independent McKinsey & Co. and Coopers & Lybrand reports.

22. Lorange, P., Roos, J. and Bronn, P.S., "Building successful strategic alliances", Long Range Planning, December 1992, p. 15.

23. Kanter, R.M., "Collaborative advantage: the art of alliances", Harvard Business Review, July-August 1994, pp. 96-108.

24. Business International Group, Making Alliances Work, The Economist Books, London, 1990.

25. Bucklin, L.P. and Sengupta, S., "Organising successful co-marketing alliances", Journal of Marketing, April 1993, pp. 32-46.

26. Davidow, W.H. and Malone, M.S., The Virtual Corporation, Harper Collins, New York, NY, 1992.

27. "Managing in a wired company", Fortune, 11 July 1994, p. 18.

28. Business Week, "Making the middlemen an endangered species", Business Week, 6 June 1994, pp. 64-5.

29. Radisson Hotels Pty Limited is an Australian-based hotel management services company owned by local management and a minority external shareholder. For ease of identification it is referred to as RHA or Radisson Hotels Australia.

30. The authors express their gratitude for the time and support, particularly of Mark Woodbridge, RHA Executive Director and Ron Ross, Systems and Communications Manager, RHA.

Further reading

Harrigan, K.R., Strategies for Joint Ventures, Lexington Books, Lexington, MA, 1985.

"Guide to the new economy", Fortune, 27 June 1994, pp. 22-60.

"The new information revolution", Business Week, special report, 13 June 1994, pp. 35-63.

Linden Brown is Chief Executive of Inter*Strat Pty Limited, Sydney, Australia. Hugh Pattinson is a Lecturer at the University of Technology, Sydney, Australia.
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