Technological cooperation is not only costly and time consuming, but also has a high attrition rate. Most literature on strategic cooperation focuses mainly on issues related to cooperation formation and the reasons why firms form these cooperative partnerships. However, a successfully formed cooperation is not always managed well enough to achieve a satisfactory performance. The knowledge of cooperative formation is necessary, but insufficient to achieve a satisfactory performance. The literature suggests that scholars know little about the underlying factors affecting cooperative performance. A comprehensive literature review was conducted to establish the possible effects of key factors on the performance of international technological cooperation, and the possible relations between key factors. A qualitative pilot study was implemented to verify the practical relevance of those 12 key factors, of which 6 factors have a relatively more significant effect on performance than the other 6 factors.
By applying theoretical modeling techniques, the research framework was then constructed according to the postulated relations between 7 key factors (6 relatively more significant factors and the focal concept, performance). Strictly based on the definition of key factors, measurement items of each key factor were carefully reviewed and selected. Following the process of structural equation modeling, the structural equation model in this research was constructed. Unlike most previous cooperation studies, a structural equation model allows researchers to examine simultaneously all the relations amongst key factors. The data were collected from mangers who had experience in managing a technological cooperative project with foreign partners, and were then analyzed by LISREL, a longstanding and widely distributed structural equation modeling computer program. The result suggests that symmetric opinions, commitment, dependence, relationships, partner analyses, and rewards have effects on the performance of international technological cooperation, which confirms the results of the thorough and comprehensive literature review and of the qualitative pilot study.
In addition, in the structural equation model of this research, relationships and rewards have effects on commitment, and partner analyses and rewards have effects on dependence, which are also consistent with the literature review. The findings have contributed to theory advancement in cooperation studies, and to the knowledge of international business. Managerial implications from the findings also provide advices, which managers can proactively take, to avoid the odds of success.