In competitive business environments, partnerships and alliances are formed for the purposes of innovation because the technological, capital, and intellectual resources necessary to first research and then develop complex product, service, organization, and platform innovations rarely reside within the legal boundaries of a single firm (Grant and Baden-Fuller, 2004). Influential and leading firms that compete with multiple platforms are often the strategic center of numerous alliances and partnerships (Kedia and Mooty, 2013). From the perspective of these center, or focal, firms, the aggregation of these present and past partnerships and alliances form an alliance portfolio and an interactive resource from which new ideas and knowledge may be drawn (Dhanaraj and Parkhe, 2006; Wassmer, 2010). As such, focal firms seek ways to develop innovation-management functions and capabilities that ensure the collaborations of the alliance portfolio possess the competencies necessary to create a range of product, system, and organizational innovations (Laursen and Salter, 2006; Maula, Keil, and Salmenkaita, 2006; O’Connor, 2008). These innovation functions and capabilities encompass several critical and interrelated tasks, which include fostering, improving, and maintaining the relationships between the partnership through the processes related to research and development (Kale, Dyer, and Singh, 2002) and managing the intellectual property and knowledge that flows between the partners (Kyriakopoulos and De Ruyter, 2004).
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