Relational resources and capabilities in mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures and alliances in automotive industry

Publication Type:

Conference Paper


Gerpisa colloquium, Paris (2012)




The internationalization of the automotive industry is strongly related with mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures and alliances. To enter in certain markets, companies associate with local or global companies as a more stable strategy and also a way to share resources and capabilities in inter-firm relationships (LAVIE, 2006; DYER & SING, 1998), nominated in this article as relational resources and capabilities. Thus, this article examines the relational resources, capabilities in acquisitions, joint ventures, alliances and partnerships related to three automakers and two auto parts suppliers (and their adjacent relationship) installed in Brazil. The five cases are associated with entry strategies into emerging markets, including Brazil and South Korea. Based on these five cases we identified the shared resources and relational benefits (sharing of knowledge, routines, complementary resources and technology, management skills) extracted in different types of relationships.

The theoretical framework was developed from the extended resource-based view, the relational view, alliances and interfirm resource dependence (BARNEY, 1991; LAVIE, 2006; PFEFFER & SALANCIK, 1982; DYER & SING, 1998). From the methodological point of view, this is an exploratory study, conducted through qualitative study cases. To collect data, interviews were developed to analyze the resources and capabilities presented in relational transactions. Participant observations and documents collected in companies and in specialized publications were also used as data collection. For data analysis we used the technique of content analysis.

The survey results reveal that the internationalization and growth strategies of automakers and suppliers are made possible through a process of mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures and alliances. These processes occur by different goals, but mainly by geographical, technological, managerial, institutional and marketing complementarities. The results reveal a significant share of resources and capabilities through these transactions. Mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures and alliances are a form of entry into new markets, but also a way to learn new processes for converting resources to acquire knowledge and skills, as noted by Harrison (2005) and Garcia-Pont & Nohria (2002). As well, these transactions are a way to adapt international companies to local institutions, as labor regulations, taxes and customs (MEYER et al., 2009; PENG, et al. 2008).

The internationalization of the automobile industry depends on the emergence of new forms of production organization, strongly associated with alliances intra and inter-regional and or national level. Thus, this study confirms the results of other studies, mergers and acquisitions represent a major strategy of internationalization of the automotive industry (FREYSSENET & LUNG, 2000; HUMPHREY, LECLER, & SALERNO, 2000). As well the internationalization by mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures and alliances is very close related with the restructure companies’ portfolios and their development of a major emerging country presence.

Our main goal is to understand more deeply what are the gains of these relational transactions and if the exchange of resources and capabilities were possible among firms. These issues are fundamental to understand the dynamics and processes of internationalization of the automotive industry and ways to develop a major presence in a emerging country, as Brazil.


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Concéption Tommaso Pardi
Administration Géry Deffontaines

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