Block Alliances in Formal Standard Setting Environments

Block Alliances in Formal Standard Setting Environments

Alfred G. Warner
DOI: 10.4018/jitsr.2003010101
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This paper extends the examination of block alliances in standard setting from market-driven to formal or committee-based processes in the information and communications industry. Formal process block alliances are argued to emerge in anticipation of institutional failure, that is, from the prospect that formal standardization will not yield a timely or correct solution. These block alliances organize around particular or more general technology streams and have distinctive characteristics. These include a clear articulation and separation of marketing and technical specification roles. Finally, block alliances in formal standard setting exhibit a governance form corporate in nature and distinct from the star or clique forms exhibited in market-based alliances. Some potential causes of this are examined.

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