Title: The Tunisian textile industry: local responses to internationalisation

Authors: Alistair R. Anderson; Sana El Harbi; Meriam Brahem

Addresses: Aberdeen Business School, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, UK. ' Faculté de Droit et de Sciences Economiques et Politiques de Sousse, University of Sousse, Cité Erriadh, Sousse, Tunisia. ' Faculté de Droit et de Sciences Economiques et Politiques de Sousse, University of Sousse, Cité Erriadh, Sousse, Tunisia

Abstract: The continuing internationalisation of the textile industry has reduced the labour cost advantages of Tunisian clothing firms. These firms have a precarious position in the international value chain, often as subcontractors and only rarely contributing high value inputs. To remain viable in the hyper competition wrought by internationalisation, firms must cut costs further or adopt an entrepreneurial approach. We examined 103 small Tunisian textile firms to find how they have responded to international competitive pressures. Our conceptual framework is entrepreneurial orientation. Employing multiple correspondence analysis and typological analysis, we identify clusters of approaches. Our typology shows three distinctive types: innovators, potentially innovative, passive imitators and a further ambiguous group. Our results show that different small firms have responded in different ways to the threats and opportunities of globalisation. However, many Tunisian firms have improved their position in the international supply chain by innovation strategies, rather than simply focusing on cost reduction.

Keywords: internationalisation; textiles; entrepreneurial orientation; innovation; cluster analysis; typology; multiple component analysis; MCA; Tunisia; international value chains; SMEs; small and medium-sized enterprises; textile industry; clothing firms; garment firms; apparel firms; globalisation; entrepreneurship.

DOI: 10.1504/EJIM.2012.049640

European Journal of International Management, 2012 Vol.6 No.5, pp.525 - 541

Published online: 22 Nov 2014 *

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