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Geringer and Herbert on Effectiveness of Joint Ventures


Since the advent of globalization, new forms and types of businesses have emerged across the world (Robson, Leonidou and Katsikeas, 2001; Gong, Shenkar, Luo and Nyaw, n.d). One of the popular forms of business that characterize society today is the Joint Ventures (JV), which is perceived to be more profitable and sustainable than other forms of direct investments (Delios and Beamish, 2002; Julian, 2005). Research into this area is inclined towards the performance of JVs in new societies and cultures (Kogut, 1988). One such research work was carried out by Michael Geringer and Louis Herbert on how the performance of joint ventures can be measured devoid of mistakes of traditional methods (Geringer and Herbert, 1990).

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Variables contributing to the performance of JVs

Writing in their published scholarly article titled, ‘Measuring Performance of International Joint Ventures’, Geringer and Herbert (1990) start by acknowledging that concerted efforts to identify variables contributing to the performance of JVs have largely been limited and hindered by disagreements in comparability and reliability of alternative performance measures and methods (Geringer and Herbert, 1990). Measures and methods for performance of JVs remain a debatable area, as no consensus seems to exist; however, Geringer and Hebert make attempt to evaluate “reliability and comparability of a range of objective and subjective measures of IJV performance, as well as evaluating the relative utility of different data collection approaches” (Geringer and Herbert, 1990).

Strengths in authors’ arguments in the journal

The strength of the authors’ work can be manifested through the appropriate designation of hypotheses, a concise review of related literature, methodology, and subsequent discussion of the results. In terms of literature review, the authors acknowledge the overall existence of problems that International Joint Ventures face in relation to performance. The effort of the authors can also be linked to earlier efforts of other authors, who in respect to IJVs’ performance problems identified numerous problems – intra and inter-partner problems that affect performance, together with antecedent variables (Robson, Leonidou, and Katsikeas, 2001). Lewin and Minton (1986) outline the ineffectiveness of organizations as the main reason for poor performance measurement of IJVs, while failure to capture the concept of competitiveness that characterizes companies are identified by Buckley, Pass, and Prescott (1988).

In terms of hypothesis formulation, the authors largely develop their hypothesis from the identified literature review gap, which accordingly aims to be addressed through the employment of methodological tools. This brings us to the aspect of methodology that the authors decide to apportion to their research work. First, the authors acknowledged earlier that the inappropriateness of methodology of data collection in past research work has contributed to current problems of IJVs performance measurement, and this was to be addressed through the adoption of appropriate methodology tools. Studies were based in USA and Canada, with questionnaires being administered to research sample elements albeit samples being different for USA and Canada. Moreover, analysis tools were in line with research hypotheses under investigation (Geringer and Herbert, 1990).

This piece of work remains celebrated in the scholarly field, especially in its findings that remain informative. Nevertheless, it can be said that the work exhibits certain weaknesses. First, by acknowledging that the measurement of performance of IJVs is an old-age problem, the authors are just succumbing to the perception created by earlier literature. The authors fail to demonstrate their level of research work that could have been used to justify this claim, instead of hypothesizing an already existing, but not tested, idea. For instance, research by Beamish and Inkpen (1995) indicated how acquisition and promotion of knowledge could be vital in understanding IJVs’ performance and the subsequent measurement.

Given the limitation of establishing variables associated with IJV performance, the authors aim to make a detailed and whole measurement of IJVs performance, unlike what has been done in the past. It was hoped that they would first provide the limelight on the nature of disagreements that have characterized the area of IJVs performance measurement. This, in essence, would have made it possible to know the scope of the authors’ work and justify whether indeed it has solved some of the existing disagreements. Although disagreements were evident in this area, Anderson (1990) found out that some level of agreement was achieved with regard to IJVs’ effort to measure and identify performance strength factors.

Weaknesses identified in the journal

The authors further demonstrate weakness by stating that differences exist in the implementation of IJV performance. While this may be perceived as true, it would have been prudent for the authors to provide statistical justification of the concept, given that theirs was an attempt to rectify past shortcomings methodologically. Past statistical justification would have enabled or provided a clear picture of how IJVs’ performance over time looks like. For instance, research by Karakas (2009) observes that the majority of IJVs have been embracing a new paradigm in their operations, function, and performance. As a result, IJVs’ performance over time cannot just remain a problem not researched. Another claim made by the authors is that there is no consensus on the appropriate definition and measure of performance of IJVs. As such, the definition of IJVs’ performance remains largely a mystery (Yan and Luo, 2001). Simple knowledge would inform anybody that the great research done on the concept and in the area as a whole would not have been possible if a certain common ground did not exist. Therefore, the authors needed to have attempted identifying the ground upon which IJVs’ performance work claims originality, as observed by Delios and Beamish (2004).

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By deciding to carry out their research, the authors aimed to develop and test hypotheses upon perceptions of reliability and comparability of numerous objectives and subjective measures of JVs’ performance. The basic understanding here is that the reliability and comparability of variables under test by the authors need to pass the test of generalizing across different cultures. This indeed will enable apt capture of the exact nature, level, and extent of IJVs’ performance measurement. Nevertheless, the authors’ work, despite enriching their methodology, concentrates only on American and Canadian firms. Generation and generalizing of results are likely to be skewed especially when aspects such as culture, nationals, individual organization management culture (Beamish and Lupton, 2009), and organization size, and knowledge base are to be considered. Different authors have identified how factors such as culture, organization management, adaptability, and subsequent organization knowledge base affect the overall IJVs performance and measurement (Avny and Anderson, n.d; Glaister and Buckley, 1999; Quer, Claver and Rienda, 2007; Bener and Glaister, 2010; Lyles and Baird, 1994; Chowdhury, 1992; Dhanaraj, Lyles, Steensma and Tihanyi, 2004; Sazali, Haslinda, Jegak, and Raduan, 2010).


In summary, IJVs’ performance measurement will continue to draw a lot of enthusiasm from many researchers, as it is evidenced now. However, it should be noted that, in reliability, comparability, and generalizing of findings by any researcher, there is a need to integrate multiple factors. Multiple factors need to originate from the desire to appreciate the existing work-piece, identification, and adoption of appropriate methodology, evaluation of organizational and national performance, and lastly, integrating the role of technology in influencing the measurement of performance of IJVs.


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