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International experience, commitment, distribution adaptation and performance: a study of Ghanaian firms in B2B export markets

Gloria Sraha (Business School, All Nations University College, Koforidua, Ghana)
Revti Raman Sharma (Faculty of Commerce and Administration, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand)
Dave Crick (Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada)
James M. Crick (School of Business and Economics, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK)

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing

ISSN: 0885-8624

Article publication date: 29 April 2020

Issue publication date: 15 December 2020




This study aims to contribute to the existing understanding of export practices in sub-Saharan African firms with a contextual focus on Ghanaian exporters operating in business-to-business (B2B) markets. Underpinned by resource-based theory and its association with the relational view, it examines how the interplay between various decision makers’ international experience, export commitment and distribution adaptation decisions influence firms’ performance.


The study uses a mixed methods approach, using survey data from 116 internationalising Ghanaian businesses across three sectors, supplemented with qualitative insights from 18 follow-up interviews.


The study establishes a full mediation effect of export commitment on the association between international experience and export performance; also, the moderating effect of distribution adaptation on export commitment – performance relationships. Unique insights are provided into the perceived role of trustworthy, intermediaries as “stakeholders” that add to a respective firm’s resource base; that is, in building capabilities in overseas markets and informing evolving business model decisions to overcome potential export barriers.


The insights from sub-Saharan African firms provide contextual value given the relatively under-represented existing research from the region. Original insights highlight ways in which decision makers build capabilities and that they do not always follow a forward moving internationalisation process, so use different measures of performance regarding B2B product-market ventures over time.



Sraha, G., Sharma, R.R., Crick, D. and Crick, J.M. (2020), "International experience, commitment, distribution adaptation and performance: a study of Ghanaian firms in B2B export markets", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 35 No. 11, pp. 1715-1738.



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