The Economic Optimality of Sanction Mechanisms in Interorganizational Ego Networks – A Game Theoretical Analysis –
Even though small- and medium-sized firms (SMEs) were believed not to proceed beyond exporting in their internationalization routes, we can observe new types of co-operation intensive entrepreneurial firms – so-called “micromultinational enterprises” (mMNEs) – entering the global landscape. These firms face the challenge to manage and control a portfolio of national and international alliances simultaneously (ego network). The aim of this paper is to provide game theoretically consolidated conditions in order to analyze the effectiveness and efficiency of interorganizational sanction mechanisms in an alliance portfolio setting. A game theoretical framework is developed over three stages with increasing complexity. Results show that two out of six analyzed sanction mechanisms do not fulfill the game theoretical condition for effectiveness. The efficiency analysis sensibilizes for discretionary elements in governance structures and demonstrates that not one single sanction mechanism but rather the right choice and combination of different types of sanction mechanisms leads to efficient results. We contribute to the international business, alliance, and network literature in several ways by focusing on alliance portfolios held by mMNEs. In doing so, we move beyond the dyadic level and analyze sanction mechanisms from an ego network perspective, a still widely under-emphasized topic in the literature.