Network imprinting, learning and subsequent alliance tie formation

Barak Aharonson, Suleika Bort, Joel Baum

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review


Does the form of a firm’s initial alliance – dyadic or multipartner – imprint the firm, and so shape the course of its subsequent alliance path? Does this subsequent path strengthen or weaken this imprinting? To examine these questions, we study patterns of alliance formation among firms comprising the German biotechnology industry over its complete history from 1996 to 2015. We find that while firms’ initial alliances indeed shape their subsequent alliance paths, as firms accumulate alliance experience along these paths, these experiences overwhelm the effect of imprinting from the initial alliance. Notably, the direction of imprinting and subsequent alliance effects for the focal firm depends on whether the firm’s initial alliance is dyadic (initial suppression reversed by subsequent experience) or multipartner (initial amplification reversed by subsequent experience). Thus, among the firms we study, alliance trajectories are shaped initially by their own initial alliances, but adapt to experience over time. Thus, we emphasize the significance of alliance imprinting and experience for understanding the unique dynamics of dyadic and multipartner alliances.
Original languageAmerican English
JournalAcademy of Management Annual Meeting Proceedings
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2018


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