Using a series of twelve historical case-studies that are based on extensive archival research, this book explains why firms succeed or fail in communicating or transferring knowledge and discovering new expertise. By analysing how workable trade-offs between opposing forces have been achieved in the past, this study provides a set of guidelines for executives who embark upon inter-firm projects.

chapter 1|13 pages

The theoretical and historical context

chapter 2|21 pages

Agency agreements in international business: dynamic model of shipowner–agent relations, 1870–1939

Dynamic model of shipowner– agent relations, 1870–1939

chapter 3|19 pages

A family-based network

The Holt–Swire–Scott connection, decision-support systems and staff development, 1860–1970

chapter 4|24 pages

A multinational joint venture

The Orient Paint, Varnish and Colour Co., 1932–49

chapter 5|19 pages

A purchasing co-operative: the Steel Manufacturers’ Nickel Syndicate, 1901–39

The Steel Manufacturers’ Nickel Syndicate, 1901-39

chapter 6|17 pages

A licensing pyramid

John Brown Company and International Curtis Marine Turbine Company, 1908–29

chapter 7|17 pages

A technology transfer agreement

Babcock & Wilcox, 1880–1970

chapter 8|21 pages

Learning within an inter-organisational group

The Union Steamship Co. and oil propulsion, 1912–39

chapter 9|18 pages

A joint exploration venture

Western Mining Corporation and Hanna/Homestake, 1960–72

chapter 10|18 pages

Contracts based on knowledge

The J. Walter Thompson Company and Unilever – compounding intangible assets, 1900–70

chapter 11|17 pages

An Australian supplier chain

The New South Wales Bottle Co., 1909–80

chapter 12|19 pages

Hollywood networks, 1970–99

chapter 13|8 pages


Inter-firm relationships