Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Over the past twenty years, many successful Canadian businesses have entered the United States market with highly variable results. Unfortunately, the reasons for their success or failure have not been investigated, and therefore, remain largely undocumented and unknown.;To begin investigating this issue, this research project involved a detailed examination of four Canadian retail organizations entering, and adapting to, the United States market in order to understand what accounted for success versus failure. The research was kept broad in scope in order to identify all the major factors involved.;The project was designed to: (1) to identify significant factors of, and reasons for, success and failure; and (2) to explore and develop lessons learned by retailers during their experiences in the U.S. The objectives were to improve the effectiveness of Canadian retailers entering the U.S. and to increase their chances of long term success.;Data collection consisted of: (1) developing four in-depth case histories of Canadian retailers who had entered the U.S. market, two successfully and two unsuccessfully; (2) conducting additional interviews with two retailers who had entered and withdrawn from the market; and (3) transcribing relevant presentations from two conferences dealing with the topic of Canadians entering the U.S. market. Both within-case and across-case analysis was conducted to identify patterns in order to develop insights into factors that contribute to successful versus unsuccessful U.S. entry and adaptation. The fourth case history was used to confirm the insights generated from all other data sources.;The results from the project indicated that the structural models presented in the entry and adaptation literature (which included the following constructs: entry strategy, competitive strategy, parent-subsidiary relationship and environmental scanning) represented only one aspect of entering and adapting to the U.S. retail market. These models did not reflect the organizational processes nor the organizational learning involved in establishing and maintaining a fit between the structural factors; this fit is required to achieve successful performance.;This project suggested that the processes involved in gaining an understanding of a firm's environment, in being able to solve problems effectively and in having the capacity to learn, were critical to successful entry and adaptation to the U.S. retail market. The structural factors must be integrated with the learning/processes aspect to truly understand entry and adaptation to a new country.



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