Inter-Firm Knowledge Transfer between Strategic Alliance Partners: A Way Forward

Qile He, Abby Ghobadian, David Gallear

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
89 Downloads (Pure)


Strategic alliance (SA) is pursued by a diverse array of firms motivated by a range of factors. Among the SA themes, knowledge transfer (KT) has gained significant popularity over the past fifteen years. The developing literature is ontologically, epistemologically, and methodologically diverse. In spite of helpful reviews, the intellectual structure (up-stream decisions) of SA–KT research remains unclear, arguably resulting in the accidental rather than deliberate diversity potentially slowing the advancement of knowledge, its efficacy, its interpretation, and utility. By systematically analysing the intellectual structure of the empirical SA–KT studies published in peer-reviewed journals between 1990 and 2017 we address these shortcomings. The aim is to identify the preponderance of particular methods, and/or analytical procedures, developing the essence of the established research conventions. By reviewing the up-stream rather than the more conventional down-stream decisions, we offer an alternative approach to conducting systematic management literature reviews helpful to future researchers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-248
Number of pages20
JournalEuropean Management Review
Issue number3
Early online date11 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author would like to thank the anonymous reviewers and the handling editorial team, Professor Yochanan Altman and Professor Pelin Demirel, for their valuable comments to allow this paper to be improved to its current form.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. European Management Review published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of European Academy of Management (EURAM)


  • inter-firm relationship
  • knowledge transfer
  • methodology
  • strategic alliance
  • systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Strategy and Management


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