Title: Internationalisation and performance of SMEs: exploring the moderating effects of intangible assets and capital intensity

Authors: Silvia Cantele; Bettina Campedelli

Addresses: Department of Business Administration, University of Verona, Via dell'Artigliere 19, 37129 Verona, Italy ' Department of Business Administration, University of Verona, Via dell'Artigliere 19, 37129 Verona, Italy

Abstract: This study explores the exporting-performance (EP) relationship by analysing a sample of 546 Italian manufacturing SMEs for the period 2009-2011. We hypothesise a positive relationship between export intensity and profitability: the data support this hypothesis, verified by an OLS regression in which we control for past performance, size, age, leverage and industry and we introduce capital intensity and intangible assets intensity as explanatory variables in light of a RBV approach. Our verified second hypothesis concerns the negative moderating effect of capital intensity on the relationship between exporting and profitability: for firms with a low level of capital intensity increasing exporting intensity is beneficial, while firms with a greater stock of technical assets do not experience a positive marginal 'learning-by-exporting' effect; this results have relevant practical implications as they indicate that less structured SMEs can benefit more from exporting than those with higher capital intensity.

Keywords: exporting; export performance; intangible assets; capital intensity; resource-based view; RBV; SME internationalisation; profitability; SME performance; SMEs; small and medium-sized enterprises; Italy; export intensity.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBG.2016.078407

International Journal of Business and Globalisation, 2016 Vol.17 No.2, pp.205 - 223

Available online: 02 Aug 2016

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