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Relational flexibility norms and relationship-building capabilities as a mediating mechanism in export performance: insights from exporting SMEs in an emerging economy, Peru

Oscar Malca (Universidad del Pacifico, Lima, Peru)
Jean Pierre Bolaños (Universidad del Pacifico, Lima, Peru)
Francisco J. Acedo (Department of Business Economics, Universidad de Sevilla, Seville, Spain)
Jorge Luis Rubio Donet (Universidad del Pacifico, Lima, Peru)
Jesus Peña-Vinces (Department of Business Economics, Universidad de Sevilla, Seville, Spain)

International Journal of Emerging Markets

ISSN: 1746-8809

Article publication date: 7 August 2020

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to analyse the mediating and moderating effects of relational flexibility norms on relationship building capacities and export performance.

Design/methodology/approach

The study followed a quantitative and cross-sectional approach. The analysis was applied to 95 Peruvian Exporting SMEs which were examined through structural equation modelling (SEM) using AMOS 24.0 statistical package. The responses were gathered through telephone and personal interviews which were tested using the Mann–Whitney U test, finding no statistically significant differences.

Findings

The main finding of the study is to demonstrate the indirect effect of relational flexibility norms on the export performance of SMEs through relationship-building capabilities. In this way, these capabilities become very important variables in the export management of SMEs, since they directly affect the relationship of the Exporter–Importer dyad.

Research limitations/implications

One of the limitations is the cross-sectional type study that applies to the short-term effects of relational norms. Organizational characteristics and other factors that may affect export performance should also be considered in future research, as well as longitudinal studies should be developed.

Practical implications

The study allows SMEs to focus management efforts on strengthening the relationship – building capabilities, which are very important given SMEs' resource constraints. Therefore, an adequate management of relations with importers can contribute to the reduction of control and coordination costs; and have a positive impact on export performance. Similarly, the study contributes to the management of export promotion by suggesting that one area to be prioritized is the strengthening of the relationship capacities of exporting SMEs.

Originality/value

The study provides the analysis of the mediating effect of the relationship-building capability between relational flexibility and export performance. In this way, it enriches the theoretical analysis and contributes with the empirical evidence of an emerging country like the case of Peru.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Miguel Marcilla Vigo for his support in the development of this study and to the anonymous reviewers who made helpful and valuable comments to improve the quality of this paper.

Citation

Malca, O., Bolaños, J.P., Acedo, F.J., Rubio Donet, J.L. and Peña-Vinces, J. (2020), "Relational flexibility norms and relationship-building capabilities as a mediating mechanism in export performance: insights from exporting SMEs in an emerging economy, Peru", International Journal of Emerging Markets, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJOEM-09-2019-0735

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited