This paper aims to identify four “types” of private small and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) with regard to their “state” along the exporting experience spectrum.
This exploratory study explores survey information from a historic comparative static longitudinal database. Survey information was gathered in 1990/1991 from a stratified random sample of 621 manufacturing, construction and services businesses located in 12 contrasting environments in Great Britain. Surviving firms were re‐interviewed in 1997. The propensity to export was monitored at two points in real time. Information relating to actual behaviour rather than solely attitudes was gathered.
Strategic obstacles to exporting were not more likely to be cited by respondents in “disinterested exporter” rather than “disappointed exporter” firms. Also, a reactive exporting strategy was not more likely to be cited by respondents in “export capable” rather then “committed exporter” firms. Several statistically significant differences were detected with regard to the profiles of non‐exporting “disinterested exporter” and “disappointed exporter” firms, and exporting “export capable” and “committed exporter” firms.
Assuming an interventionist stance, this study suggests that practitioners need to consider the exporting experience profiles of SMEs. Practitioners seeking to increase the pool of exporting SMEs in local communities need to address an array of barriers, and not solely strategic barriers.
Guided by insights from traditional internationalization theory and international entrepreneurship theory, two hypotheses were derived relating to obstacles impeding export activity, and reasons cited for exporting. Evidence from a comparative statistic longitudinal base relating to firms scattered throughout Great Britain was explored. Multivariate logistic regression analysis detected differences with reference to firm export “type”.
Westhead, P. (2008), "International opportunity exploitation behaviour reported by “types” of firms relating to exporting experience", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 15 No. 3, pp. 431-456. https://doi.org/10.1108/14626000810892274Download as .RIS
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