The impact of current behavior of all who are engaged in an alliance on the perceptions and expectations that will drive the evolution of the alliance into the future is pervasive.

Success breeds expectations of more success, and failure breeds blame and retribution. Any alliance has its setbacks, so the latter influence often brings alliance development to a shuddering halt. Those engaged in addressing the challenges of alliance evolution for the first time often do so from the perspective of the types of assumptions made by economists and accountants, that of rational behavior.

Anyone who has spent any time dealing with a number of alliances has seen evidence that much of what goes on cannot be explained by using assumptions of rational behavior, it is far more influenced by what may be seen as irrational behavior, until a social psychologist becomes involved, then many actions become predictable as the vagaries of behavior are factored in.

I have previously noted the impact of an apparently irrational need for revenge demonstrated by Ernst Fehr an economist at the University of Zurich, in a game widely known as the “trust game with revenge” in which an apparently irrational need for what can be termed revenge, is demonstrated to be a hard-wired behavior.

This apparently irrational drive for revenge, in this context of alliance development is often just a minor bit of “pay-back,” for perceived slights and misbehavior, but it has brought many nacent alliances to an end.