Special Issue Guest Editors: 

Wojciech Czakon 
Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland

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Devi Gnyawali
Virginia Tech, USA
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Frederic Le Roy 
Universite de Montpellier, France
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Manish K. Srivastava
Michigan Tech, USA
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Twenty years have passed since Brandenburger and Nalebuff (1996) highlighted coopetition as an intriguing facet of strategy. Since then, researchers have made substantial progress in understanding this unique and managerially important phenomenon of simultaneous competition and cooperation (Ansari et al, 2015; Bengtsson & Kock, 2000; Gnyawali et al, 2016; Le Roy & Czakon, 2016). The phenomenon has been explored through a variety of theoretical perspectives (Czakon et al. 2014), such as inter-firm networks (Gnyawali & Madhavan, 2001; Gnyawali et al., 2006), resource-based view (Gnyawali & Park, 2011; Ritala & Hurmelinna-Laukkanen, 2009), transaction cost economics (Park & Russo, 1996; Park & Ungson, 2001), game theory (Chen & Miller, 2015; Quintana-Garcia & Benavides-Velasco, 2004), and paradox (Chen, 2008; Gnyawali et al., 2016). Similarly, researchers have examined it at multiple levels, such as: network (Peng & Bourne, 2009), eco-system (Mantena & Saha, 2012), ego network/alliance portfolio (Park, Srivastava, & Gnyawali, 2014), business units (Tsai, 2002), working group (Le Roy & Fernandez, 2015), top management team (Luo, Slotegraaf, & Pan, 2006), and individual employee (Tidstrom & Rajala, 2016).  

Research shows that coopetition helps firms in overcoming resource constraints, increasing their relative strengths against non-cooperating rivals (Wang & Krakover, 2008; Meade, Hyman, Blank, 2009), creating more value for customers (Le Roy & Fernandez, 2015), and increasing private and common benefits (Czakon, Mucha-Kus & Soltysik, 2016). Furthermore, coopetition has been shown to impact a wide variety of firm level outcomes such as innovation performance (Gnyawali & Park, 2011; Quintana-García & Benavides-Velasco, 2004), different types of innovation (Ritala & Hurmelinna-Laukkanen, 2013), organization learning (Tsai, 2002), market performance (Le Roy & Sanou, 2014) and financial performance (Luo et al., 2006). Research has also shown that cooperating with rivals is often a source of critical challenges (Czakon & Czernek, 2016) as firms strive to gain at the expense of their partners. Such challenges have been characterized as “learning races” (Hamel, 1991), “swimming with sharks” (Katila, Rosenberger, & Eisenhardt, 2008) and “sleeping with the enemy” (Gnyawali, Park, 2009). Such challenges make coopetition quite paradoxical in nature, and create tension for the partnering firms (Raza-Ullah, Bengtsson, Kock, 2014). Managing this tension may require firms to develop coopetition specific capabilities (Gnyawali et al, 2016).

Considering the growth of the coopetition literature during the last twenty years, the research progress thus far has been quite impressive, but much more needs to be done in order to develop a more comprehensive and nuanced understanding of the coopetition phenomenon. Conceptually, it would be important to draw upon unique insights from different theoretical perspectives. For example, while the resource-based view may suggest that potential for accessing useful and valuable resources could increase motivation for coopetition, the transaction costs theory may suggest that risks of opportunistic behavior and knowledge loss could decrease motivation for coopetition. New insights may emerge by juxtaposing different theoretical perspectives, which would be useful in developing a better understanding of the drivers, dynamics, and outcomes of coopetition. Empirically, current research is dominated by case studies, which have been very helpful, but we also now need large scale, quantitative data-driven, longitudinal studies for further progress. Fruitful research opportunities also lie in deploying more fine-grained and reliable measures. Given coopetition is essentially a multilevel phenomenon (Bengtsson & Raza-Ullah, 2016; Gnyawali & Park, 2009), using multilevel frameworks and modelling would be also highly valuable. Use of robust empirical methods would provide more systematic and nuanced answers to some of the persisting questions. Accordingly, this special issue aims at contributing to the development of coopetition strategy research by focusing on the antecedents, underlying processes, dynamics, and outcomes of coopetition. While we surely welcome conceptual papers that bring new theoretical insights, we especially encourage empirical papers using variety of robust methodologies. We offer the following research questions to indicate some potential research opportunities and also the areas of interest for the special issue, but we would welcome high quality research papers on other aspects of coopetition as well.

  1. Coopetition strategy manifestations
    • How do firms shape their strategic relationships with rivals?

    • How do managers develop a coopetition strategy?

    • How does coopetition emerge within a network of collaborating firms?

    • In what ways does coopetition differ from collusion?

    • To what extent would the pursuit of coopetition strategy differ across different industry contexts?

    • How and why might coopetition strategy be more common in technologically intense contexts?

  2. Antecedents of coopetition strategies
    • What are the motivations and rationale for developing a coopetition strategy?

    • Under what conditions are firms more likely to choose coopetition strategy?

    • Are some kinds of firms more likely to pursue coopetition strategy?

    • To what extent do firms deliberately seek a coopetitive advantage?

  3. Process of coopetition
    • What are the underlying conditions that make coopetition a paradoxical relationship?

    • What are the key contradictions and dualities and how might they drive paradoxical tension?

    • How do firms manage tensions inherent in collaboration with competitors?

    • What governance structures might be more effective in managing coopetition?

  4. Outcomes of coopetition
    • Are there dark sides of coopetition?

    • Under what conditions might coopetition help versus hurt firms? What kinds of firms are more likely to end up on the losing side?

    • What are the important boundary conditions?

    • Do the effects of coopetition depend upon environmental conditions, industry characteristics, industry life-cycle stage, firm characteristics?

    • How does coopetition impact the industry structure and dynamics?

  5. Value creation and capture in coopetition strategy
    • How might the issue of common versus private benefits be different when the intensity of competition increases in an alliance relationship?

    • In what ways would be value creation and value capture different in coopetition?

    • How do value creation and value capture impact each other when they occur simultaneously?

    • In what ways do the risks and costs of opportunism vary among different coopetition partners and how does such variation impact value creation and capture? 

  6. Coopetition Capability
    • To what extent do firms need a unique set of capabilities for coopetition?

    • What are unique   components of such capability?

    • How (or through which underlying mechanisms) would capability help enhance performance? 

    • How could firms develop coopetition capability?


Keywords: coopetition, value creation and capture, competition and cooperation, networks, common and private benefits, capability.

Submission Processes for the Special Issue

Authors should submit complete manuscripts via the LRP EVISE online submission system at https://www.evise.com/profile/#/LRP/login by 15th February 2018. To ensure that all manuscripts are correctly identified for consideration for this special issue, it is important that authors select ‘SI: Coopetition Strategies’ when they reach the “Article Type” step in the online submission process. Manuscripts should be prepared in accordance with the LRP’s Guide for Authors available on the journal web page. All submitted manuscripts will be subject to the LRP’s blind review process.

Research Data

Research data forms the backbone of research articles and provides the foundation on which knowledge is built.  Researchers are increasingly encouraged, or even mandated, to make research data available, accessible, discoverable and usable.  Authors are encouraged to submit their data at the same time as their manuscript – further information can be found at https://www.elsevier.com/authors/author-services/research-data

Guest Editor Team Bios:

Wojciech Czakon is a strategy professor, at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow (Poland). His research evolves around inter organizational phenomena, with a focus on coopetition strategies. His recent publications provide a typology of coopetition, literature reviews, explore the role of trust at dyad and network level in establishing coopetition. Since 2006 member of the coopetition research community established with EIASM, guest co-editor of special issues on coopetition published with International Journal of Business Environment, International Studies of Management & Organization, and Industrial Marketing Management.

Devi Gnyawali is R. B. Pamplin Professor and Department Head at Virginia Tech. His primary research interests are in the areas of coopetition, innovation, strategic alliances, networks, organizational knowledge and capabilities, managerial cognition, and competitive dynamics. His research has published in many leading journals including Academy of Management Review, Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Management, Research Policy, Information System Review, Journal of Management Studies, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, British Journal of Management, and Journal of Product and Innovation Management. He is an Associate Editor of Journal of Management.

Frédéric LE ROY is Professor in Strategic Management at the University of Montpellier (ISEM) and Montpellier Business School, France. He is head of MRM –Strategic Management lab and director of the Master Consulting in Management. His current research relates primarily to coopetition strategy. Besides, he develops research on entrepreneurship and strategy in high-tech industries. He edited several special issue dedicated to coopetition. He published several books and many research articles in academic journal as Industrial Marketing Management, British Journal of Management, Technology Analysis & Strategic Management, Small Business Economics, etc.

Manish Srivastava is an Associate Professor of Strategy and Innovation at Michigan Tech. His research focuses on relational resources, coopetition, strategic alliance portfolio, technological innovation, and geographic clusters. His research has been published in the Academy of Management Journal, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Journal of Engineering and Technology Management, Industrial Marketing Management, Journal of Technology Transfer, Technology Analysis & Strategic Management, and Management Decision. He serves on the Editorial Board of Journal of Management.



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