Indexed on: 21 Nov '09Published on: 21 Nov '09Published in: Management International Review
While research on international joint ventures (IJVs) has intensified over the last few decades, numerous reviewers have criticized the field for lack of accumulation. We use meta-analytic techniques to quantitatively synthesize and evaluate agency theory and the behavioral perspective in their ability to explain IJV performance variance. Overall, we find support for these theories but moderator analyses unveil important effects of artifactual variables, and point to a unique character of IJVs in China.Based on meta-analyses of 165 effect sizes from 61 independent samples and a total of 26,927 IJVs, the results offer overall support for a hypothesized path model grounded in agency theory and the behavioral perspective. However, only 19 percent of the variance in IJV performance is accounted for, indicating a need to explore other underexplored variables. We do not find evidence that hierarchical control is associated with partner conflict. Closer examination shows that for IJVs in China such control lowers partner conflict, while for IJVs in other countries it amplifies partner conflict. The effects of partner conflict on IJV performance are less harmful for Chinese joint ventures than for joint ventures in other countries. Furthermore, while objective measures of cultural distance show a weak positive effect on IJV performance, subjective measures show a negative effect.