IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Psychic Distance Paradox


  • Shawna O'Grady

    (Queen' University)

  • Henry W Lane

    (The University of Western Ontario)


Companies tend to begin their internationalization process in countries that are ‘psychically’ close. Researchers describe the sequence of entry that firms follow and the mode of entry they choose. They suggest that psychically close countries are more easily understood than distant ones; and offer more familiar operating environments. Although not prescriptive, an unstated conclusion can be drawn linking sequence of entry to performance. Evidence from thirty-two Canadian retail companies shows that only seven (22%) were functioning successfully in the United States. The psychic distance paradox is that operations in psychically close countries are not necessarily easy to manage, because assumptions of similarity can prevent executives from learning about critical differences. Moreover, empirical evidence from 271 CEOs confirms greater cultural differences between Canada and the U.S. than assumed previously. Modifications are suggested to improve the psychic distance concept.© 1996 JIBS. Journal of International Business Studies (1996) 27, 309–333

Suggested Citation

  • Shawna O'Grady & Henry W Lane, 1996. "The Psychic Distance Paradox," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 27(2), pages 309-333, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:jintbs:v:27:y:1996:i:2:p:309-333

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Link to full text PDF
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    File URL:
    File Function: Link to full text HTML
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pal:jintbs:v:27:y:1996:i:2:p:309-333. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sonal Shukla) or (Rebekah McClure). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.