Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Economics)


School of Economics


Inter-firm collaboration has become increasingly important in the global economy. Firms rely on collaborations to access new resources, new technology, skills, latest market information, new markets and knowledge, to increase innovation, to reduce costs, and to overcome government policy barriers. Given the importance of business collaboration, it is not surprising that the topic has been extensively researched in both economics and business studies even though the term “collaboration” has not generally not used consistently in the literature. The empirical research has primarily focused on inter-firm collaborations in developed countries and involving large firms. There are many differences between developed countries and developing countries, which may influence the types, motives and results from inter-firm collaborations.

A major objective of this thesis is to identify the key determinants of successful inter-firm collaborations in the telecommunications industry in Australia and China. To provide more reliable results, both qualitative and quantitative research methods are adopted in this thesis as complementary methodologies. The qualitative analysis is based on information from 31 face-to-face interviews conducted in China and Australia between 2008 and 2009. The quantitative method is an ordered probit estimation using data collected from an online survey conducted in 2009 with 339 valid responses. Findings from the thesis show that firms prefer peer or larger sized partners to achieve a higher performance in their collaborations. Trust, communication and firm size play significant positive roles in successful inter-firm collaborations. It was also found that previous experience plays a less of important role, and that cultural similarity plays a significant negative role in inter-firm collaborations in China and Australia. China and Australia are different in terms of level of development and market size. To collaborate with Chinese partners it is better to target bringing more profits or increasing their market influence. However, to collaborate with Australian partners it is better to target cost saving. The results also suggest that studies of business collaboration should take into account the cultural background, regulations and industry characteristics in each country.

FoR codes (2008)




Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.