There is recognition that competition is shifting from a "firm versus firm perspective" to a "supply chain versus supply chain perspective." In response to this shift, firms seeking competitive advantage are participating in cooperative supply chain arrangements, such as strategic alliances, which combine their individual strengths and unique resources. Buyer-supplier sourcing relationships are a primary focus of alliance improvement efforts. While interest in such arrangements remains strong, it is well accepted that creating, developing, and maintaining a successful alliance is a very daunting task. This research addresses several critical issues regarding that challenge. First, what factors contribute most to long-term alliance success? Second, what conditions define The presence of those success factors? Third, do buyers and suppliers in an alliance agree on those success factors and defining conditions? The research results demonstrate a remarkably consistent perspective among alliance partners regarding key success factors, despite the acknowledgment that the resultant success is based on a relatively even, but not equal, exchange of benefits and resources. Additionally, within an alliances intended "win-win" foundation, suppliers must recognize their innate dependence on customers. Finally, significant opportunities for improvement exist with respect to alliance goal clarification, communication, and performance evaluation.
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