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date: 27 January 2022

Abstract and Keywords

Asymmetric partnerships—partnerships between small entrepreneurial and large established firms—are categorically distinct from large–large firm partnerships but have received considerably less scholarly attention. This chapter provides an overview of the literature on asymmetric partnerships by reviewing studies in the fields of organizational theory, strategy, and entrepreneurship. It identifies three literature streams: antecedents of asymmetric partnership formation, process dynamics and management of asymmetric partnerships, and the performance consequences on firms involved in asymmetric partnerships. The chapter reviews each stream’s major studies, summarizes and synthesizes the empirical findings and theoretical insights, and identifies future directions. To advance the literature, the chapter discusses research opportunities, highlighting fertile avenues such as field-based research to examine the evolving nature of asymmetric partnerships and the organizational black box of partnership management, and quantitative research to strengthen causal identification.

Keywords: asymmetric partnerships, process dynamics, partnership management, small firms, large firms

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