Strategic alliance has been viewed as a management solution of companies. Printing companies have begun to adopt this method as a way to survive or strengthen their position. The purpose of this research was to determine an overview of the practice of alliances in the printing industry. This thesis focuses on strategic alliances and attempts to improve understanding on this subject by classifying and evaluating the current practice of alliances in the printing industry. The investigated areas are 1) the type of alliances that exist in the printing industry; 2) who is entering into the alliances; and 3) the intention of companies to establish alliances. These areas were investigated and specific information is provided about the current practice of strategic alliances in the last two years (2004-2005). To gather this information, the database was searched, and 116 related articles were found.

The results reveal that more than 200 companies engaged in alliances within the last two years. The alliance types found were outsourcing, contractual agreement, joint venture, and acquisition. The most frequent types of alliance are acquisition (47%) and contractual agreement (37%). The purposes for companies to enter into alliances include acquiring technology, research and development, manufacturing, global penetration, market expansion, and growth strategy. Companies not only align with others of the same type, but it also appears that they would like to build networks across the industry. Most joint ventures are established with overseas partners because they would like to establish a presence abroad. Outsourcing found included printing services, IT services, and document management services. Most companies that enter into contracts are print service providers and publishers. Most of the companies who engage in acquisitions are larger print service providers who acquire smaller print service providers.

An analysis of the alliances was conducted, and one alliance was chosen to be closely investigated. ColorCentric Corporation and Lulu.com were selected because their strategic alliance represents a breakthrough in the printing industry. The interviews were conducted with the president of ColorCentric Corporation. The strategic alliance between ColorCentric Corporation and Lulu.com offers great advantages for both partners. ColorCentric Corporation gained a customer base provided by Lulu.com, and at the same time Lulu.com focused on its core competency without investing in printing equipments.

All in all, numerous of alliances have been established in the printing industry and are predicted to increase.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Strategic alliances (Business); Printing industry

Publication Date


Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

School of Print Media (CIAS)


Frank Cost

Advisor/Committee Member

Patricia Sorce


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at HD69.S8 T43 2006


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