Union is strength, Knowledge is power : A study of strategic alliance between USBE and service firms in Umeå
In global arena there exists a trend to engage in strategic alliances. The alliances are assumed to be addressing the existing resource gaps that various organizations have. Not only for-profit organizations have a need to fill in the gap, but also non-profit organizations. Various types of alliances are formed to satisfy various needs. One particular form of alliances will be discussed in this thesis is the learning alliance, which is organized in a way to facilitate the knowledge transfer between the partners involved. More specifically, the learning alliance between the university and service companies will be discussed. Even though there has been done studies examining university – industry cooperations, yet they have focused on Natural Science faculties and industry cooperations, while Business Schools did not receive much attention from the researchers. Thus, this thesis will attempt to fill in this research gap by conducting a research on Umeå School of Business and service companies to be able to produce a model for a successful learning alliance
In order to pursue the targeted aim, a qualitative study with semi-structured interviews was conducted. Moreover, a mix of deductive and inductive approach was adopted to facilitate the research.
The analysis indicated that in order to facilitate a successful learning alliance between the Umeå School of Business and service companies, certain requirements should be fulfilled. In particular, the rationale for alliance engagement should be knowledge sharing and knowledge types should create a collective strength. Moreover, the structure of the actual co-operations should satisfy the needs of all the actors involved and there should be adopted practices or experiential and organizational learning to benefit from the learning alliance. In addition, it was identified that the alliance organizers should consider the problems as well, which might affect the performance of the alliance. Finally, the result of the study is presented in the model designed by the authors based on prior theories and the analysis of the respondent’s comments.
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