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Social capital and export performance of SMEs in Ghana: the role of firm capabilities

Roseline Barbara Easmon (Department of Marketing and Entrepreneurship, University of Ghana Business School, Accra, Ghana)
Adelaide Naa Amerley Kastner (Department of Marketing, Central University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana)
Charles Blankson (Department of Marketing and Logistics, University of North Texas, Denton, Texas, USA)
Mahmoud Abdulai Mahmoud (Department of Marketing and Entrepreneurship, University of Ghana Business School, Accra, Ghana)

African Journal of Economic and Management Studies

ISSN: 2040-0705

Article publication date: 18 June 2019

Issue publication date: 19 August 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to understand the direct impact of social capital and the influence of market-based capabilities as intervening variables on the export performance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Ghana.

Design/methodology/approach

Questionnaire-based survey was used to collect data from top executives and senior managers of exporting companies in Ghana. Data obtained were analysed using the structural equation modelling.

Findings

The findings revealed that social capital of SMEs exert the greatest influence on their export performance. Innovation and marketing capabilities are also key drivers of export performance among SMEs as they fully mediate the social capital–export performance relationship. Notwithstanding, marketing capabilities appear to exert a greater influence than innovation capabilities on the export performance of SMEs.

Research limitations/implications

The study used perceptual measures of international performance by managers of SMEs in the Ghanaian exporting sector making it difficult to determine respondent bias.

Practical implications

Managers of exporting firms should build stronger relationships with their customers and suppliers who contribute significantly to their export performance. SMEs would also have to hone their innovation and marketing skills as strategic components in enhancing their export performance.

Social implications

Market-based resources such as marketing and innovation should not be taken for granted by SMEs in the export business.

Originality/value

The study offers some lessons on how small firms can sharpen their marketing and innovation capabilities to derive export performance benefits from social capital. Theoretically, while the findings offer strong evidence reinforcing the DC theory, an exploration of the nexus of the theories brings to the fore the need to reassess the resource-based view and SC theories.

Keywords

Citation

Easmon, R.B., Kastner, A.N.A., Blankson, C. and Mahmoud, M.A. (2019), "Social capital and export performance of SMEs in Ghana: the role of firm capabilities", African Journal of Economic and Management Studies, Vol. 10 No. 3, pp. 262-285. https://doi.org/10.1108/AJEMS-11-2018-0361

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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