What networks do to firms and what firms do to networks: Evolution of alliance portfolios in networked markets
This study explores the question of how alliance portfolios change over time. In the setting of the U.S. wireless gaming market, I collected real-time and longitudinal data on entrepreneurial game publishers over two and a half years. This process revealed that alliance portfolios of firms can grow or deteriorate rapidly through virtuous or vicious cycles, depending on their starting position in a networked market. Those firms in a virtuous cycle have the additional advantage that they can use resource-dependence strategies to fuel the virtuous cycle. Finally, I find that changes in a firm's alliance portfolio occur simultaneously with other firm-level changes, such as physical growth, new rounds of financing, public offering and game coverage. The findings have potential contributions to literature at the firm, portfolio, and network levels. Overall, the picture provided is one that advocates multi-level and longitudinal analysis for the understanding of firm, portfolio, and network-level outcomes deriving from firm-level interactions and portfolio strategies.
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