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Making Sense of Changing Hats: A study of the Nigeria, Vietnam, and Azerbaijan/Kazakhstan projects within the Norwegian Statoil and British BP strategic alliance
Stockholm School of Economics.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Business Studies. (International Business)
2016 (English)In: Africa Journal of Management, ISSN 2332-2373, Vol. 2, no 2Article in journal (Refereed) In press
Abstract [en]

To explore group-based identities and collective sensemaking in the context of a cross-border alliance, a qualitative exploratory study was initiated. The emphasis was on interpretation of issues, within and around an inter-firm partnership and the alliance process, perceived by those involved as important. The BP and Statoil strategic alliance, formed to carry out joint oil and gas exploration and development in Nigeria, Vietnam and Azerbaijan/Kazakhstan, provided 52 interviews with staff from both partner headquarters and team members from the three projects. By studying an alliance process from multiple perspectives, it was possible to identify differences in sensemaking across different groups of employees. The organizational level (the alliance business unit level and the alliance team level) proved to be a more important for shared sensemaking of the alliance process, than group identities such as nationalities, companies or locations. The alliance business unit level had been tasked with strategically developing and shaping the alliance, while the alliance teams had the operational responsibility for the project. The main theoretical implication is the primacy of the project team-based identity to sensemaking regarding critical issues, emphasizing the importance of developing an alliance “supra-identity”. Implications for inter-firm partnerships in Africa and Asia are also addressed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 2, no 2
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-284501DOI: 10.1080/23322373.2016.1180228OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-284501DiVA: diva2:920468
Available from: 2016-04-18 Created: 2016-04-18 Last updated: 2016-04-18

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Zander, Lena
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