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Synergistic effect of R&D and exports on performance in US manufacturing industries: high-tech vs low-tech

Jooh Lee (Rowan University, Glassboro, New Jersey, USA)
He-Boong Kwon (Colorado State University – Pueblo, Pueblo, Colorado, USA)

Journal of Modelling in Management

ISSN: 1746-5664

Article publication date: 23 October 2021

Issue publication date: 31 March 2023




This study aims to explore the strategic impact of R&D and export activity on the diverse dimensions of US manufacturing firms’ performance. It also explores, using a predictive analytic model, the interactive synergistic effect that R&D and exports have on firm performance.


This study presents an innovative two-stage regression-neural network approach. Complementing conventional statistical analysis, the predictive backpropagation neural network explores the relative impact of R&D and exports and their synergistic effect on firm performance.


This study demonstrates the significant and positive effect of R&D and export strategy/activity on the economic performance of leading US manufacturing firms, particularly on their market-based performance (i.e. sustained growth rate or SGR). Furthermore, this study finds that the synergistic effect of R&D and exports on short-term performance (i.e. return on investment) is positive in high-tech firms but negative in low-tech firms. However, the synergistic effect on SGR is increasingly positive regardless of the level of technology.


In addition to traditional statistical analysis, this study uniquely investigates the relative importance of selected strategic variables, along with R&D and export activity and their differential synergistic effects, for firms’ economic performance in contrasting industry settings (high-tech vs low-tech).



Lee, J. and Kwon, H.-B. (2023), "Synergistic effect of R&D and exports on performance in US manufacturing industries: high-tech vs low-tech", Journal of Modelling in Management, Vol. 18 No. 2, pp. 343-371.



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