Success through commitment and trust: The soft side of strategic alliance management

John B. Cullen*, Jean L. Johnson, Tomoaki Sakano

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

329 Citations (Scopus)


This article argues that the success of international strategic alliances requires attention not only to the hard side of alliance management (e.g., financial issues and other operational issues) but, also, to the soft side. The soft side refers to the development and management of relationship capital in the alliance. Relationship capital consists of the socio-psychological aspects of the alliance that are positive and beneficial to the alliance. Two important areas of relationship capital are mutual trust and commitment. Based on our findings from two major studies of Japanese strategic alliances, we develop a dynamic model of trust and commitment based on mutual adjustments of alliance partners. We also show how the dynamics of trust and commitment affect the performance of international strategic alliances with the Japanese. The article concludes with a discussion of the managerial implications of our findings and the dynamic model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-240
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of World Business
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2000 Jan 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Finance
  • Marketing


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