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New ventures often encounter a strategic dilemma of whether to differentiate themselves from or to conform to other businesses in the industry. The present study joins this ongoing debate by asking the following question: How will organizational regulatory legitimacy and entrepreneurial orientation (EO) interactively impact new venture performance (NVP) in the context of emerging economies? Drawing on institutional theory, we developed competing hypotheses regarding the interactive impact of organizational regulatory legitimacy and EO on NVP. Employing a dataset of 116 entrepreneurial firms in China, results indicate that although organizational regulatory legitimacy and EO improve NVP independently, their interaction is negatively linked to performance. We derive several implications from these findings in an effort to guide future research.
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