This study seeks to provide insights into the management of tensions related to information in coopetition. The literature on coopetition management recommends a separation principle, an integration principle or a combination of both. Focusing on tensions related to information in coopetition at the project level, we consider which principle is most appropriate. We theoretically discuss the control mechanisms used to address information criticality and information appropriability. In addition, we conduct an in-depth case study of a space project involving two competitors, Astrium and Thales Alenia Space. First, we describe the tensions related to information that arose in the context of this coopetitive project. In particular, financial and technical information presented dilemmas. Second, we explain how the coopetitors used formal control mechanisms to separate critical information from non-critical information. Specifically, information that was critical to the project's success was shared through a common information system specially designed for the project, whereas non-critical information was withheld from the partner. Third, because formal control mechanisms were insufficient to address critical information that was also appropriable, we show how project managers implemented informal control mechanisms. For example, project managers transformed appropriable information into non-appropriable information by aggregating data and withholding details such as calculation methods and cost structures. Our findings suggest that the management of tensions related to information in coopetitive projects requires a combination of formal control mechanisms (to manage information criticality) and informal control mechanisms (to manage information appropriability).
Fernandez, A.-S., & Chiambaretto, P. (2016). Managing tensions related to information in coopetition. Industrial Marketing Management, 53, 66–76. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.indmarman.2015.11.010
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