Geographic co-location of partners and rivals: Implications for the design of R&D alliances

Wonsang Ryu, Brian T. McCann, Jeffrey J. Reuer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


This study advances previous research on the competitive aspects of research and development (R&D) collaborations that has been mainly interested in knowledge protection concerns in alliances between direct rivals. We join the alliance and agglomeration liter-atures and argue that geographic co-location between a focal firm's partner and rivals introduces potential indirect paths of knowledge leakage to rivals. Geographic co-location creates significant risks of unintentional knowledge spillovers to rivals, while it also increases the likelihood of transactions between the partner firm and the rivals in which firm knowledge can be misappropriated. As a consequence of these risks associated with the co-location of partners and rivals, the focal firm is more likely to employ defense mechanisms when designing alliances. In particular, the focal firm will use equity structures to provide greater monitoring, control, and incentive alignment and will reduce the alliance's scope, as well as task interdependence, to address knowledge leakage concerns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)945-965
Number of pages21
JournalAcademy of Management Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jun

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Academy of Management Journal 2018.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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