Organizational entrainment and international new ventures from
, Liliana Pérez-Nordtvedt
, Eric Wood
Department of Management, The University of Texas at Arlington, 701 S. West St., Suite 231, Arlington, TX 76019, United States
Department of Management, The University of Texas at Arlington, 701 S. West Street, Suite 215, Arlington, TX 76019, United States
Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town, Portswood Road, Greenpoint 8000, South Africa
article info abstract
Received 2 March 2008
Received in revised form 27 January 2009
Accepted 29 January 2009
Organizational entrainment captures the temporal ﬁt in the activity cycles between exchange
partners. We argue that organizational entrainment between international new ventures
(INVs) and their most important international customers positively moderates the relationship
between the degree, scope, and speed of internationalization and performance of INVs. We test
our hypotheses on INVs from China, India and South Africa. The results support the contingent
role of entrainment for degree and scope of internationalization but not for speed. Findings
suggest that, when INVs attain temporal ﬁt with their most important international customers,
they can implement their strategic goals in international markets more effectively.
© 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
New venture performance
1. Executive summary
Time is the “invisible language” of international business, yet cultures differ in their treatment of time. As a result, one of the
most important challenges for international new ventures (INVs) involves the synchronization of their activity cycles with those of
their most important customers based abroad. Such synchronization, known as organizational entrainment, captures the temporal
ﬁt between ﬁrms and their environments. In this paper, we bring organizational entrainment to the center stage of the
international entrepreneurship literature. We argue that organizational entrainment is a neglected but critical contingency that
moderates the relationship between the degree, scope, and speed of internationalization and the performance of INVs. Although
researchers have offered numerous contingencies to tease out heterogeneity among internationalizers, no one has directly
considered how the level of organizational entrainment with international customers alters the internationalization-performance
equation. Internationalization is a growth strategy that managers of INVs undertake to improve performance. As such, we
hypothesize that as INVs increase their degree, scope, and speed of internationalization, their performance should improve. In
addition, we argue that entrainment with their most important international customers will create positive synergies as INVs
internationalize extensively, broadly, and rapidly.
Although entrainment is relevant in many contexts, we argue that entraining with international customers represents a
particularly important and challenging issue for INVs from emerging markets. When they cross international boundaries, new
Journal of Business Venturing 25 (2010) 104–119
This research was funded through a grant to the ﬁrst author from the U.K. Department for International Development and the Centre for New and Emerging
Markets at the London Business School. The authors thank Srinivas Prakhya, Raul Velarde, and Congcong Zheng as well as Simon Commander and Saul Estrin for
helping us start this project. We are extremely grateful to Deepak Datta, Abdul Rasheed, and David Harrison for their guidance in the development of this paper as
well as to the editor and to two anonymous reviewers. We thank Bob Hoskisson and Joseph Cheng for their helpful feedback.
⁎ Corresponding author. Tel.: +1 817 272 3868.
E-mail addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org (S. Khavul), email@example.com (L. Pérez-Nordtvedt), firstname.lastname@example.org (E. Wood).
Tel.: +1 817 272 3858.
Tel.: +27 21 406 1093.
0883-9026/$ – see front matter © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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