Mergers and acquisitions first, alliances and interfirm collaboration a little later, have been two of the most studied phenomena in Strategy research, since such research began in the 60s. Yet, despite all that we have learned in the process, we still lack a comprehensive understanding of why alliances – and to a lesser extent – M&As are formed, what determines their outcome and performance, and to what extent they are substitutes or complements in firms’ strategy. We also lack a theoretical perspective integrating all the various elements of knowledge that past research has produced.
In this panel, we will build on the prior discussions on what past research has taught us and we will explore the directions future research on alliances could take. In particular, we will try to suggest avenues through which existing knowledge might be better brought together in order to form a somewhat unified theory – or at least perspective - on alliances, mergers and acquisitions and, more generally, on how firms extend their reach beyond their own boundaries.