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The possession of dynamic alliance portfolio management capabilities is integral to enhancing enterprise sustained entrepreneurial growth in both domestic and international landscapes. This assertion is particularly apparent owing to the fact that most enterprises are engaged in multiple simultaneous alliance portfolios with varied partners and are encountering the challenge of building requisite dynamic alliance portfolio management capabilities – to manage a diversified portfolio of alliances in the most effective manner. Therefore, firstly, the environment is open to international commerce and fully exposed to the opportunities and threats linked to rapid market and technological evolution. Secondly, market and technological evolution is inherently systemic, in that multiple innovations must be combined to create products and/or services that compellingly address customer needs. Thirdly, well-developed global markets exist for the exchange of goods and services. Fourthly, poorly developed markets in which to exchange market, technological and managerial acumen characterises the business environment. These characteristics are prevalent in large sectors of the global economy, in this instance, those that exhibit high levels of competition attributed to enhancing sustained enterprise entrepreneurial growth.
In these sectors, the foundation for enhancing sustained entrepreneurial growth success is scantly dependent on the enterprise’s ability to engage in (textbook) optimisation against obvious constraints, or capturing scale economies in production. Rather, enhanced enterprise sustained entrepreneurial growth success depends upon the discovery, creation and development of opportunities; the effective combination of internally generated and externally generated innovations; efficient and effective knowledge exchange inside the enterprise and between/amongst its partners; the upgrading of ‘best practice’ business processes; the establishment of new business models; making unbiased decisions; and insulating against imitation and other forms of replication by rivals. Also, it involves shaping new ‘rules of the game’ in the global marketplace. Traditional success-oriented business practices such as maintaining incentive alignment, owning tangible assets, controlling costs, maintaining quality, ‘optimising’ inventories – are essential, but insufficient for successfully enhancing enterprise sustained entrepreneurial growth.
Executives seem to be cognizant of these critical, yet challenging developments in today’s globally competitive and partnership connected environments that shape the success in enhancing enterprise sustained entrepreneurial growth. Hence, an enterprise must generate and implement the managerial and organisational acumen needed to realise the successful enhancement of sustained entrepreneurial growth – through its arrays of functional-level alliance portfolio partners.
As reiterated, not all functional-level alliance portfolio infused enterprise-level creations and responses to opportunities and threats represent manifestations of dynamic alliance portfolio management capabilities. For instance, evidence illustrates that mere ad hoc problem solving does not necessarily represent a dynamic alliance portfolio management capability. Nor is the adoption of a pervasive and replicable “best” practice likely to constitute a dynamic alliance portfolio management capability. Implementing best practice in this regard may help an enterprise become or stay viable. However, best practices that are widely diffused are independently unable, in a competitive market situation, to enable an enterprise to earn more than its cost of capital – neither outperform its counterparts/competitors. Furthermore, independent inventions and innovations are insufficient to generate success in realising the enhancement of sustained entrepreneurial growth.
Two yardsticks are proffered herein, for calibrating capabilities in general: ‘technical fitness’ and ‘evolutionary fitness’. Technical fitness entails how effectively a capability performs its function, regardless of how well the capability secures an enterprises’ viability. Evolutionary or external fitness entails how well the capability secures an enterprise’s viability. Evolutionary fitness exemplifies the selection environment. Further postulations in this regard assert that technical and evolutionary fitness range from zero to some positive value. These yardsticks are consistent with the proffered arguments, herein. Dynamic alliance portfolio management capabilities contribute towards achieving evolutionary fitness to some degree, by helping to shape the environment. The constituent of dynamic alliance portfolio management capabilities that reflects shaping (and not exclusively adapting to) the environment is entrepreneurial in nature. This assumption gleans from the Austrian School of economic thought exhorting that entrepreneurship is the pursuit of increasing the value of an enterprise’s assets by discovering and/or creating new business opportunities. Contemporaneously, a growing body of literature – strategic entrepreneurship, underpins its foundational tenets on this Austrian perspective of economic thought. Following this legacy of economic thought, it is therefore logical to deduce that – entrepreneurial fitness should assume equal standing with evolutionary fitness.
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