Towards a Holistic Approach to Boundary Development: An Investigation of Acquisition and Alliance Strategies of International Organizations in the Telephony and Media Communications Sectors

Antonia Alafouzo

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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This research explores commonalities between acquisitions and alliances as two modes through which organizations can extend their boundaries of control. It seeks to determine, compare and evaluate decision-making criteria that organizations apply to acquisitions and alliances. The term ‘boundary development events’ covers both acquisitions and alliances in this research. Consequent to a synthesis of extant literatures, the research developed a framework termed ‘boundary development framework’ capable of integrating dominant concepts and different perspectives. This framework, constructed of four factors, culture, portfolio, mission, and timescale, was amenable to analytical and empirical analyses. These factors, common to acquisition and alliance, align to major strategic themes in the extant literatures. Development of a unified framework offered conceptual possibilities for investigating boundary development events from evaluation to implementation stages. It served to compare and contrast the approaches organizations employ when engaging in acquisitions and alliances. The research explored this framework through empirical investigation of a suite of case studies of organizations in telephony and media communication sectors. The findings established that the four factors were all essential in decision-making and that there were variations in organizational approaches predicated on organizational contexts, boundary event circumstances, and, orientations to learning. Further, the research evolved the construct of a ‘metacompetence’, as a strategic level boundary building capability applicable to both acquisitions and alliances. As the expression of well-developed organizational approaches, a metacompetence can support boundary development strategies and be beneficial when associated with a deliberate learning orientation. Such a capability, at the core of a holistic approach, can be built and refined through experiences and lessons learnt from serial boundary events. The findings inform areas for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Tan, Hui, Supervisor
Award date1 Nov 2014
Publication statusUnpublished - 2014


  • acquisitions, alliances

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