Institutional transitions within emerging markets create significant challenges for effective supply chain management. This research investigates external pressures, internal strategic choices, and institutional imprinting influences on supply chain outsourcing and operational performance. Results of primary and secondary data from a sample of 769 firms in Russia demonstrate that industry competitor growth and decentralized outsourcing decision making encourage firms to outsource more supply chain activities. Interestingly, however, these influences are directly and indirectly thwarted within firms that have a strong imprint from the former Soviet centrally planned economy. Further, the positive impact on operational performance resulting from decentralized decision making and outsourcing becomes negative when firms have a strong Soviet imprint. This research underscores the significance of founding institutional imprints of emerging economies when considering supply chain decentralization and outsourcing decisions.