Managers' perceptions of exporting are shown to have a critical influence on firm export performance in this study of machine tool manufacturers in the US and Canada. Of special importance are managers' perceptions of the advantages of exporting over domestic sales, especially perceptions of export‐related growth opportunities. Perceptions of the complexities associated with exporting and managers' work experience overseas are also shown to be related to the percentage of sales a firm obtains by exporting. Possible explanations of these findings are suggested and several implications are discussed.
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