Paper Title
How Can The Various Characteristics of A Strategic Alliance Affect The Development of Innovation in The Agro-Food Sector?

Due to the increasing level of global competition, businesses have started looking for new ways to improve their competitive advantage. As a result, many companies have started adopting new strategies and methods to improve their position. Due to the various changes in the market environment, companies have explored new ways to improve their capabilities to compete effectively by looking at external sources of knowledge and technology through a network and more specifically alliances. Companies have adopted this scenario of arrangement to pool their resources while maintaining their corporate identity. The aim of this study is to examine the impact of strategic alliance partner characteristics namely (partner complementarity, partner trust, partner commitment, and partner compatibility) on firm’s innovation, which includes new or improved product, process, marketing and organizational ideas. The population of the study contained 70Agro-food companies, operating in the sub-sector of labelled local products. This sector is known for its particularities since it encompasses companies working on the entire production chain of agricultural products, starting form a raw product to the distribution and marketing. To gather the data required for measuring the study variables, a questionnaire was developed. The results of the study showed that the strategic alliance partner characteristics had a significant impact on the Moroccan agri-food companies’ innovation, and this influence differs depending on the alliance model. The finding underlined that the commitment of partner has the highest impact on the firm innovation, then the compatibility, then the trust. On the contrary, the study showed that the complementarity impacts negatively the innovation level of the agri-food firms due to the risk-taking of unique competencies in the partner. The study revealed that in order to be successful in forming a strategic alliance, the company should select the right partner, who has a commitment and trust capabilities and has the sense of loyalty to share expertise to enrich both resourcesand contribute to the organization's growth and development. The appropriate partner should be able to make important decisions without any involvement or assessment and should have a strong sense of commitment to the alliance, and a compatible strategic objectives and management style.