The age of alliances

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Posted by APM on 8th Aug 2013

More and more organisations, in all sectors, are seeking to collaborate in what has been coined the age of alliances, yet failure rates remain unacceptably high. Please help us understand why and what constitutes best practice by contributing to SiG sponsored research now being undertaken in conjunction with the University of Portsmouth.

Collaboration implies cooperation and working together for mutual benefit. But what sounds instinctively attractive can be extremely challenging in a multi-organisational context. The statistics bear out the difficulties experienced by organisations seeking to create strategic alliances - as many as seventy percent are destined to fail.

Yet despite this much reported and rather depressing statistic the appetite for collaboration appears unabated as business, the public and third sectors all continue to forge more and more collaborative ventures in the new age of alliances. Indeed, contemporary research suggests that the largest multi-nationals now each operate an average of seventy strategic alliances.

Strategic alliances normally fulfill three conditions;

 The independence of the contributing partners is maintained;
 Benefits are shared amongst the partners; and,
 There is on going participation in one or more strategic area.

So why is collaboration so challenging? Is this a case of poor theory, poor practice or poor implementation or a combination of all three?








Chair of the Programme Management SiG (ProgM) Merv Wyeth said:

Many within the programme management community will have experienced instances of transformation change, successful or otherwise, involving organisations working together. We are keen to capture this knowledge and build an evidential base for future best practice. As professionals we should act on the basis of what we know works i.e. evidence, rather than inadequate theory or intuition.

Jim Dale, Secretary of ProgM, is undertaking the research through the University of Portsmouth. The research incorporates three key elements:

1) A questionnaire that anyone who has any experience of major organisational change is invited to complete.  Please click here:

2) A series of 1:1 semi structured interviews with programme , project and change management practitioners;

3) Action-orientated research with an on-going strategic alliance.

The plan is report the emerging findings at ProgMs Annual Conference that is being held on Tuesday 26 November 2013 in Central Birmingham.

The theme of the conference is Using programme management to achieve transformational change in an era of austerity - delivering more for less. #apmmore4less

The pressure is on in all sectors to deliver transformational change effectively. Collaboration and strategic alliancing is increasingly seen as the panacea - a case of having your cake and eating it; providing of course, you fall within the 30% of change programmes likely to succeed!

To find out more about the conference please click here:
To participate in the survey please click here:

For further information please contact: Jim Dale at:

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