This study considers the influence of contracts on enforcement and the subsequent performance impact of aligned and misaligned enforcement. We define enforcement as a corrective action aimed at remedying problems occurring in the transaction. First we explain the role of contracts and show that at the component level, contracts can both increase and decrease enforcement. Building on an alignment perspective and accounting for the endogeneity of enforcement, we use these contractual components and variables related to enforcement to predict the occurrence of enforcement. We use such predictions to show that aligned enforcement results in higher performance. We also show that the performance impact of misaligned enforcement is relatively greater for transactions where enforcement is not expected. We conduct the study using a unique dataset reporting on 971 business transactions across a wide range of industries. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.