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The cooperation-competition tension in strategic alliances creates a social dilemma where member and alliance interests are in conflict. Because social dilemmas have significant negative implications for strategic alliance and member success, understanding the psychological mechanisms underpinning the cooperation-competition tension and ways to navigate this tension holds important theoretical implications for strategic alliance research. This paper proposes a real options approach to navigating strategic alliance social dilemmas. The level of exposure when acquiring the real option may influence the effect of a small win on perceived vulnerability through the development of trust.
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