Date of Award

Spring 4-21-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Leigh Anne Liu

Second Advisor

Daniel Bello

Third Advisor

S. Tamer Cavusgil

Fourth Advisor

Penelope Prime

Fifth Advisor

Mark Keil


I report on the findings of an inductive, interpretive multiple-case study of organizational cross-cultural adaptation and answer the question of how foreign companies can overcome the challenges of fitting into their host environment. Based on in-depth interview data from nine Chinese firms operating in the United States, I explore the content and drivers of firm-level cross-cultural adaptation. The emergent framework demonstrates a dynamic and comprehensive process at the firm level, involving a multilevel and multidimensional adaptation to fit through social networking. The identified patterns of adaptors reveal the link between cross-cultural adaptation and functional fitness of firms in a foreign environment. The study also identifies the boundary conditions of the cross-cultural adaptation of foreign firms. In addition, the study highlights the previously underserved aspect of functional fitness in a foreign environment and its essential role in influencing a firm’s overseas performance.