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Unit of study_

IBUS6004: International Business Alliances

Collaboration to achieve competitive advantage is one of the most commonly recommended cross border strategies. However, international alliances can take many different forms, and they can serve many different purposes. Managing international alliances raises a series of different issues for the alliance partners to manage. This unit examines the issues raised and considers the reasons for success and failure of international alliances. It looks at the forms that partnerships can take, it examines the methods for choosing among potential partners, it examines the potential forms of collaboration and the level of resources each may require. Managing the partnership for maximum advantage, avoiding possible risks, and deciding how and when to end the partnership, all are further issues that managers must consider. The unit considers these questions in the framework of general theoretical approaches, and pays particular attention to discussion of individual cases.


Academic unit International Business
Unit code IBUS6004
Unit name International Business Alliances
Session, year
Semester 1, 2020
Attendance mode Normal evening
Location Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney
Credit points 6

Enrolment rules

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff and contact details

Coordinator Nimer Uraidi,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Tutorial quiz Quizzes
Multiple-choice questions
20% Multiple weeks n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1
Participation In-class participation
Participation in the Zoom tutorial discussion, and discussion forum thread
15% Ongoing Ongoing
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2
Assignment group assignment Alliance analysis case
Written report
20% Week 12
Due date: 29 May 2020 at 17:00

Closing date: 12 Jun 2020
2500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO3 LO2
Presentation group assignment Alliance presentation
Oral presentation
10% Week 13
Due date: 05 Jun 2020 at 14:00

Closing date: 19 Jun 2020
13 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO3 LO2
Assignment Individual assignment
Propose an alliance
35% Week 13
Due date: 05 Jun 2020 at 23:59

Closing date: 19 Jun 2020
10 pages
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
group assignment = group assignment ?
  • Alliance analysis case​: In groups, students will be required to conduct research investigating an alliance case of their choosing. They will need to present an analysis that infers the alliance strategy and motivation of the alliance between the partners, the management structure of the alliance, and performance measures. Then, they will need to provide recommendations on the future of the alliance.
  • Alliance presentation: Students will be requested to deliver the findings of the group alliance report.
  • Individual assignment: In this task, you will provide a comprehensive proposal for a real-world alliance of your own choice. For-profit as well as not-for-profit private or public alliances can be chosen. You may also choose to propose a possible alliance between two firms that you find to have complementary resources and thus could benefit from collaboration. You will identify and focus on a specific alliance management issue, or a group of issues, and develop consistent, coherent and feasible arguments for how and why this collaboration will increase organisational effectiveness. Please nominate your alliance partners (subject to approval by course coordinator) by week 7. Full proposals are due in week 12.
  • In-class participation: Students are expected to read the assigned material, participate actively in online forum discussions and issues raised in Zoom tutorial class. At the end of each lecture, students will self-assess their contribution to the class discussions (which will be one of the inputs to their grades in this assessment item).  Students will be engaged in preparing and discussing particular cases. This assessment is worth 15%.
  • Quizzes: Students are required to answer 20 multiple-choice questions.

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at an exceptional standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school. 


75 - 84

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at a very high standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school.


65 - 74

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at a good standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school.


50 - 64

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at an acceptable standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school. 


0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Special consideration

If you experience short-term circumstances beyond your control, such as illness, injury or misadventure or if you have essential commitments which impact your preparation or performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website provides information on academic honesty, academic dishonesty, and the resources available to all students.

The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic dishonesty or plagiarism seriously.

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic dishonesty. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of dishonesty, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 1. Introduction to the unit and case study method; 2. Theoretical perspectives in alliance research Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 02 Theoretical Underpinning Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 03 Motives: Sources of Synergy Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 04 Structure: Partnership vs. Acquisition, & Equity vs. Contractual Partnerships Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 05 Good Friday: No lecture Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 06 Partner selection and motives (I) Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 07 Partner selection (II) and negotiation Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 08 Alliance governance: trust, contracts, and institutions (I) Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 09 Alliance governance: trust, contracts, and institutions (II) Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 10 Alliance performance evaluation Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 11 Alliance termination Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 12 Alliance learning Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 13 Semester recap Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4

Attendance and class requirements

Lecture recordings: All lectures and seminars are recorded and will be available on Canvas for student use. Please note the Business School does not own the system and cannot guarantee that the system will operate or that every class will be recorded. Students should ensure they attend and participate in all classes.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

All readings for this unit can be accessed through the Library eReserve, available on Canvas.

  • Strategic Alliance Management (SAM) by Tjemkes, Vos and Burgers, Routledge 2012.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University’s graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. evaluate and interpret information to identify relevant issues faced by alliance partners
  • LO2. apply unit content to propose well-justified solutions to typical strategic issues faced by alliance partners
  • LO3. apply unit content to formulate an alliance strategy
  • LO4. apply unit content to propose a real-world alliance between two firms from different countries.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities
Only minor changes have occurred: the individual project is now broken to its two constituting parts: participation and real-world alliance (to draw attention and simplify).


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