This paper develops a structural model to simultaneously analyze firms' partner selection activities and governance design for managing interfirm relationships. The model predicts these choices to be influenced by appropriation concerns, coordination requirements, dependence and prior experiences with the exchange partner. An analysis of 817 information technology transactions shows that appropriation concerns, coordination requirements and dependence influence governance design, while buyers' partner selection effort relates mainly to appropriation concerns. Partner experience developed during prior ties with the exchange partner is found to moderate the effects of these control problems. In addition, partner selection and formal governance are found to be used as complements instead of substitutes in coping with interfirm control problems. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.