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Enhancing international marketing capability and export performance of emerging market SMEs in crises: strategic flexibility and digital technologies

Nadia Zahoor (Queen Mary University of London, London, UK) (Innolab, University of Vaasa, Vaasa, Finland)
Yong Kyu Lew (HUFS Business School, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Seoul, South Korea)

International Marketing Review

ISSN: 0265-1335

Article publication date: 3 January 2023

275

Abstract

Purpose

This study investigates to what extent strategic flexibility of international strategic alliances (ISAs) affects export performance of emerging market small and medium-sized enterprises (ESMEs) via international marketing capability in crises. It also examines whether these ESMEs’ adoption of digital technology strengthens the impact of strategic flexibility of ISAs on international marketing capability.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on the international alliance and dynamic capability perspectives on strategic flexibility, the authors develop a conceptual model and empirically examine the mediation and moderation effects between strategic flexibility of ISAs, international marketing capability, export performance and adoption of digital technology. The authors collected survey data from 129 ESMEs located in Pakistan between May 2021 and August 2021 and tested the conceptual model with hierarchical-moderated regression analysis.

Findings

The findings suggest that strategic flexibility of ISAs positively impacts on export performance of ESMEs in crises. Moreover, the authors found that international marketing significantly mediates the relationship between strategic flexibility of ISAs and export performance of ESMEs. Also, the adoption of digital technologies significantly moderates the relationship between strategic flexibility of ISAs positively and international marketing capability.

Originality/value

The authors take strategic flexibility of ISAs in the context of the emerging market and how ESMEs enhance export performance in a time of crisis, which extends the prior ESMEs’ international marketing strategy and crisis management literature. In particular, the authors show that strategic flexibility of ISAs is a vital dynamic capability to enhance export performance of ESMEs via international marketing capability and adoption of digital technologies.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research was supported by the Queen Mary University of London.

This research was supported by Hankuk University of Foreign Studies Research Fund.

Citation

Zahoor, N. and Lew, Y.K. (2023), "Enhancing international marketing capability and export performance of emerging market SMEs in crises: strategic flexibility and digital technologies", International Marketing Review, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/IMR-12-2021-0350

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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