How can we explain a proliferation of alliances when the probability of failure is higher than success? And why have we emphasized their order, manageability and predictability whilst acknowledging that they tend to be experienced as messy, politically charged and unpredictable? Mark de Rond, in this provocative book, sets out to address such paradoxes. Based on in-depth case studies of three major biotechnology alliances, he suggests that we need theories to explain idiosyncracy as well as social order. He argues that such theories must allow for social conduct to be active and self-directed but simultaneously inert and constrained, thus permitting voluntarism, determinism, and serendipity alike to explain causation in alliance life. The book offers a highly original combination of insights from social theory and intellectual history with more mainstream strategic management and organizations literature. It is a refreshing and thought-provoking analysis that will appeal to practitioner and academic researcher alike.