Nuances in the Interplay of Competition and Cooperation: Towards a Theory of Coopetition
Progress in coopetition research is impeded by two problems in the literature: (a) superficial conceptualization of simultaneity and outcomes and (b) lack of theorizing about core properties of coopetition and how they influence outcomes. This paper addresses these interrelated problems and charts a path towards a theory of coopetition. We systematically analyze competition and cooperation and illuminate how the interplay between specific aspects of competition and cooperation manifests through unique coopetition mechanisms. We explicate a range of possible outcomes from coopetition—joint value creation for all firms, value creation for individual firms, and value destruction—and suggest that coopetition mechanisms help explain how and why coopetition may lead to varying outcomes. Furthermore, we explain how effective navigation of simultaneity and value creation intent, two fundamental elements of coopetition, may be instrumental in deriving beneficial outcomes. Navigating simultaneity involves balancing competition and cooperation and maintaining both at moderately strong levels, and navigating value creation consists of managing the trade-off between joint value creation and firm value creation without compromising overall value creation. By explaining how coopetition manifests, what its unique underlying properties are, and how such properties influence outcomes, our paper provides a deeper understanding of the phenomenon and progresses the literature towards a theory of coopetition.