Title: Online activities and export performance of the smaller firm: a capability perspective

Authors: Anna Morgan-Thomas

Addresses: Centre for Internationalisation and Enterprise Research (CIER), Department of Management, University of Glasgow, Gilbert Scott Building, University Avenue, Glasgow G12 8QQ, Scotland, UK

Abstract: Firms engage in online exports with varying levels of success, yet limited understanding concerns explanations for these differences in performance. This study investigates antecedents of Online Contribution to Export Performance (OCEP), defined as the extent to which an export firm|s objectives are achieved via online activities. The paper examines how online capabilities, complementary capabilities in exporting, IT resources and intentional efforts on the part of the firm affect OCEP. The results, based on a cross-industry sample of 603 SMEs, show that whilst some capabilities positively affect the performance of online export activities, others have a detrimental effect. Managers are advised to focus on relational online capabilities rather than necessarily invest in online transactions as these do not seem to be associated with increased online performance. Managers are also advised against treating online exporting as a substitute for offline exporting practices.

Keywords: online exports; export performance; online internationalisation; international e-commerce; SMEs; export marketing; internet marketing; electronic commerce; small and medium-sized enterprises.

DOI: 10.1504/EJIM.2009.026992

European Journal of International Management, 2009 Vol.3 No.3, pp.266 - 285

Available online: 12 Jul 2009 *

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