Title: Digitalisation and firm performance: evidence from Tunisian SMEs

Authors: Rihab Bellakhal; Rim Mouelhi

Addresses: Department of Quantitative Methods, ESCT, University of Manouba, Campus Universitaire Manouba, 2010, Tunisia; L.R. MASE, ESSAI, University of Carthage, Tunisia; Euro-Mediterranean Network for Economic Studies (EMNES), Barcelona, Spain ' Department of Economics, ISCAE, University of Manouba, Campus Universitaire Manouba, 2010, Tunisia; Laboratoire d'Economie et de Finance Appliquées (LEFA), IHEC Carthage, Tunisia; Euro-Mediterranean Network for Economic Studies (EMNES), Barcelona, Spain

Abstract: Existing studies suggest that the level of digitalisation amongst Tunisian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is low. Tunisian SMEs lack the resources and capabilities needed to implement digital technologies. Furthermore, the literature argues that digitalisation offers unprecedented opportunities for SMEs, making digitalisation more than fundamental for their survival and growth. The purpose of this paper is to shed light on the relationship between digitalisation and performance, in the context of Tunisian SMEs. Based on a firm-level dataset of 466 SMEs, the results indicate that digitalisation is positively related to firms' performance. This positive relationship is linked with the firm's engagement within a global digitalisation strategy, where it considers digitalisation as being an integral part of its business and activities. The paper gives several policy recommendations to support the digital transformation of SMEs in Tunisia.

Keywords: firm performance; digitalisation; internationalisation; small and medium-sized enterprises; SMEs; digital strategy.

DOI: 10.1504/IJPQM.2023.130872

International Journal of Productivity and Quality Management, 2023 Vol.39 No.1, pp.42 - 65

Received: 19 Jan 2021
Accepted: 30 May 2021

Published online: 13 May 2023 *

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