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  • Subject area(s): Marketing
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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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For SMEs, these objectives also include the opportunity to increase competitiveness and compete with larger firms (Agostini, Filippini and Nosella, 2015), expand the resources (O'Dwyer, Gilmore and Carson, 2011; Tomlinson and Fai, 2013), gain access to knowledge and technologies, that without the alliances would be hard to get (Tomlinson and Fai, 2013; Lin and Lin, 2016); overcome problems with experience and credibility, but also gain reputation and visibility (Lin and Lin, 2016). This last statement is highly represented when it comes to destination marketing in the tourism sector, because all different sizes of hotels and restaurants get together to promote one specific geographical area to increase the sales as an overall for all the members, making it especially useful to the smaller companies involved that gain a bigger visibility to the potential customers (von Friedrichs Grängsjö, 2003)

This relationships can also reduce costs, for example when it is used to enter a different country, reducing transaction and coordination costs, as can be seen in associations of producers or famers where the costs of transport of their final product is shared, therefore lower for each member (Lamprinopoulou and Tregear, 2011). Consequently, the companies can perceive positive effects in the financial performance, sustain and improve competitive advantage, given that they build their relationships wisely in an innovative way that is smart with their limited resources (O'Dwyer, Gilmore and Carson, 2011; Tomlinson and Fai, 2013). The relationships must be well thought because extensive intensiveness can create problems of free riding and too scarce can reduce overall effectiveness  (Luo, Rindfleish and Tse, 2007; Naudé et al., 2014)

With this in mind, it is clear that a dilemma may arise between working together to create value and benefits for all the members, or taking advantage of the situation and take a bigger share of the outputs by being opportunistic (Gnyawali and Park, 2011). Between the risks in the alliance, there is the possibility of technology leakage to the competitors, hence losing competitive advantage; a loss of control over the process itself (Tomlinson and Fai, 2013) and increased rivalry, mainly because of goal differences (Agostini, Filippini and Nosella, 2015).

There are many studies on the co-opetitive relationship between companies and almost all of them are focused on the managerial side. These include, a successful partner selection (Holmberg and Cummings, 2009; Swoboda et al., 2011), network developing process (Agostini, Filippini and Nosella, 2015; Agostini, 2016b), the different structures and effectiveness of the networks (Carson, Gilmore and Rocks, 2004; Rocks, Gilmore and Carson, 2005; Nyuur, Brečić and Simintiras, 2016) even including topics like how is the perfect manager profile to have better results (Cavazos and Varadarajan, 2012; Agostini, Filippini and Nosella, 2015). Agostini et al. (2015), conclude that it is necessary to have someone to manage the alliance as an intermediary, and that intermediary could be either internal or external, but hast to be actively involved to have successful results, as they show in their study with four cases of study of the networks Horenet (hotels and restaurants machinery), Autonet (automotive manufacturers), Shoenet (shoe producers) and Consnet (construction) in Italy where each one of the alliances uses either an owner of one of the companies or hire someone to supervise and control the network.  

Generally, these studies are focused on R&D and upstream value chain activities (Lyons, 1991; McEvily, Eisenhardt and Prescott, 2004; Lamprinopoulou and Tregear, 2011; Agostini, 2016b), due to the fact that these high technology industries face bigger challenges and opportunities, and obtain more advantages when using this strategy, sharing the risk to access and combine sophisticated technologies (Gnyawali and Park, 2011). This includes one of the greatest examples where two giants of the technology, Samsung and Sony, got together to develop the 7th generation display for televisions and creating a revolution in the industry (Gnyawali and Park, 2011).

In the gastronomic industry, there are different types of alliances like restaurants with hotels or airports to get a bigger geographical reach; participation in other types of restaurants, like McDonald's and Chipotle Mexican Grill; and alliances with famous chefs to reach a different segment or improve their menu (Michaelides, 2000).

One of the most renown examples of co-opetition in the gastronomic industry are the food fairs and festivals, where a variety of chefs and personalities, suppliers and cooperatives (formed by groups of farmers and ranchers) get together to share new and more diverse experiences with all the event attendees (PR Newswire, 2017). Food festivals are alliances that help the economic development of the participants, tourism development of the region where is held, promotion of local companies (Axelsen and Swan, 2010), improvement and development of participant's brands (Lee and Arcodia, 2011; Frost and Laing, 2013; Johnson Morgan, 2015). Equally they try to promote social messages championing and promoting the latest trends in the food industry, such as the status of authenticity, artisanal and high profile (Frost and Laing, 2013).

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