Kooli, Kaouther, Wright, Len Tiu and Wright, Adrian (2010) Business implications in the subcontracting alliance life cycle: case examples from the Tunisian clothing and textile industries. Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, 25 (5). pp. 372-382. ISSN 0885-8624

Purpose – Dependence on access to European markets through subcontracting relationships with European firms has exposed subcontracting clothing and textile producers in less developed economies to the vagaries of international market competition. This paper aims to examine the problems that such exposure creates and the requirements for developing marketing activities through the concept of the alliance life cycle as a viable solution for a sample of Tunisian clothing and textile firms.

Design/methodology/approach – The inductive reasoning of this research was implemented through qualitative research based on a range of tools derived from a case study and a dual ethnographic approach.

Findings – The main results showed that life cycle stages of the subcontracting firms reflected Schumpeter's creation and destruction cycle of innovation. Therefore, subcontracting firms could learn from their activities with their business customers so that they developed marketing competences in innovative processes. The findings also demonstrated that some of the firms in the Tunisian clothing and textile industries were more successful than others.

Research limitations/implications – This research focused mainly on subcontracting alliances with implications for future study of other alliances for different industries.

Practical implications – The life cycle approach could be of great interest to subcontracting managers in the post Multi Fibre Arrangement era. This approach is relevant mainly for decision makers in providing them with a framework within which they might optimise their marketing strategies and their implementations.

Originality/value – The research originality resides in its Schumpeterian perspective in considering business-to-business relationships. The value of the paper is to focus on the evolutionary aspects of relationships between contractors and subcontractors and the patterns of the marketing development within these relationships.

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