Objective: Research into firm-level exporting, has been criticised for being excessively fragmented and inconsistent. The objective of this paper is to review extant research on export performance and propose a research framework which will go beyond the currently studied relationships and variables, and therefore formulate several recommendations for future research.
Research Design & Methods: In doing so, the review adopts a broader view of export performance, which accounts for the possibility of a negative development of export ventures.
Findings: The paper finds that institution-based, resource-based and industry-based views have been often used to address the determinants of export performance. While there are some complex interactions between host-country institutional factors, firm-level factors, and industry-level factors, these have been studied to a lesser extent. Also, the review highlights the need for a more nuanced and fine-grained understanding of export strategy, particularly embracing modern business models and devoting more attention to foreign market partners.
Implications & Recommendations: Scholars should be more sensitive to previously neglected variables which can enhance the understanding of export performance and lead to more comprehensive empirical studies.
Contribution & Value Added: The paper includes a conceptual framework proposing directions for future research, whereby a broader understanding of export performance is adopted, including also the possibility of export exits.
export, export performance, firm internationalisation, systematic review, future research directions
Associate Professor at the Poznań University of Economics and Business, Department of International Competitiveness at the Institute of International Business and Economics. His research interests include foreign direct investments and divestments, export performance and export exits, along with business models.
Doctoral Candidate at the Poznań University of Economics and Business, holds a Master’s degree of the Alpen Adria University Klagenfurt, Austria. He has a track record of professional experience in business analytics and controlling. His research interests include foreign market relationships and performance.
Doctoral Candidate at the Poznań University of Economics and Business, holds a Master’s degree of the Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany. He has corporate work experience in the area of financial controlling. His research interests revolve around the linkages between the (de-)internationalisation of the firm and its performance.
Assistant Professor at the Warsaw School of Economics, Department of International Management at the Collegium of World Economy. His research interests include internationalization performance and the impact of digital transformation on internationalization models and processes.
- Alvarez, R. (2004). Sources of export success in small-and medium-sized enterprises: the impact of public programs. International Business Review, 13(3), 383-400. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ibusrev.2004.01.002
- Baldwin, J., & Yan, B. (2012). Market expansion and productivity growth: Do new domestic markets matter as much as new international markets?. Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, 21(2), 469-491. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1530-9134.2012.00330.x
- Barłożewski, K., & Trąpczyński, P. (2021). Internationalisation motives and the multinationality-performance relationship: The case of Polish firms. Entrepreneurial Business and Economics Review, 9(2), 85-104. https://doi.org/10.15678/EBER.2021.090206
- Barney, J. (1991). Firm resources and sustained competitive advantage. Journal of Management, 17(1), 99-120. https://doi.org/10.1177/014920639101700108
- Barney, J., Wright, M., & Ketchen Jr, D. J. (2001). The resource-based view of the firm: Ten years after 1991. Journal of Management, 27(6), 625-641. https://doi.org/10.1177/014920630102700601
- Brache, J., & Felzensztein, C. (2019). Geographical co-location on Chilean SME’s export performance. Journal of Business Research, 105, 310-321. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2017.11.044
- Brouthers, K.D. (2013). A retrospective on: Institutional, cultural and transaction cost influences on entry mode choice and performance. Journal of International Business Studies, 44(1), 14-22. https://doi.org/10.1057/jibs.2012.23
- Cadogan, J. W., Kuivalainen, O., & Sundqvist, S. (2009). Export market-oriented behavior and export performance: quadratic and moderating effects under differing degrees of market dynamism and internationalization. Journal of International Marketing, 17(4), 71-89. https://doi.org/10.1509/jimk.17.4.71
- Cantwell, J., Dunning, J. H., & Lundan, S. M. (2010). An evolutionary approach to understanding international business activity: The co-evolution of MNEs and the institutional environment. Journal of International Business Studies, 41(4), 567-586. https://doi.org/10.1057/jibs.2009.95
- Cavusgil, S. T., & Zou, S. (1994). Marketing strategy-performance relationship: an investigation of the empirical link in export market ventures. Journal of Marketing, 58(1), 1-21. https://doi.org/10.1177/002224299405800101
- Chen, J., Sousa, C. M., & He, X. (2016). The determinants of export performance: a review of the literature 2006-2014. International Marketing Review, 33(5), 626-670. https://doi.org/10.1108/IMR-10-2015-0212
- Cieślik, J., Kaciak, E., & Thongpapanl, N. T. (2015). Effect of export experience and market scope strategy on export performance: Evidence from Poland. International Business Review, 24(5), 772-780. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ibusrev.2015.02.003
- Cuervo-Cazurra, A., & Genc, M. (2008). Transforming disadvantages into advantages: developing-country MNEs in the least developed countries. Journal of International Business Studies, 39(6), 957-979. https://doi.org/10.1057/palgrave.jibs.8400390
- Cui, G., & Lui, H. K. (2005). Order of entry and performance of multinational corporations in an emerging market: A contingent resource perspective. Journal of International Marketing, 13(4), 28-56. https://doi.org/10.1509/jimk.2005.13.4.28
- Dacin, M. T., Goodstein, J., & Scott, W. R. (2002). Institutional theory and institutional change: introduction to the special research forum. The Academy of Management Journal, 45(1), 43-56. https://doi.org/10.5465/amj.2002.6283388
- Dhanaraj, C., & Beamish, P. W. (2003). A resource‐based approach to the study of export performance. Journal of Small Business Management, 41(3), 242-261. https://doi.org/10.1111/1540-627X.00080
- Dunning, J. H., & Lundan, S. M. (2008). Multinational enterprises and the global economy. Edward Elgar Publishing.
- Durmuşoǧlu, S. S., Apfelthaler, G., Nayir, D. Z., Alvarez, R., & Mughan, T. (2012). The effect of government-designed export promotion service use on small and medium-sized enterprise goal achievement: A multidimensional view of export performance. Industrial Marketing Management, 41(4), 680-691. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.indmarman.2011.09.016
- Francioni, B., Pagano, A., & Castellani, D. (2016). Drivers of SMEs’ exporting activity: a review and a research agenda. Multinational Business Review, 24(3), 194-215. https://doi.org/10.1108/MBR-06-2016-0023
- Freeman, J., Styles, C., & Lawley, M. (2012). Does firm location make a difference to the export performance of SMEs?. International Marketing Review, 29(1), 88-113. https://doi.org/10.1108/02651331211201552
- Freeman, S., Deligonul, S., & Cavusgil, T. (2013). Strategic re-structuring by born-globals using outward and inward-oriented activity. International Marketing Review, 30(2), 156-182. https://doi.org/10.1108/02651331311314574
- Gao, G., Pan, Y., Lu, J., & Tao, Z. (2008). Performance of Multinational Firms’ Subsidiaries: Influences of Cumulative Experience. Management International Review, 48(6), 749-768. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11575-008-0105-x
- Guillén, M. F., & García-Canal, E. (2009). The American model of the multinational firm and the “new” multinationals from emerging economies. The Academy of Management Perspectives, 23(2), 23-35. https://doi.org/10.5465/amp.2009.39985538
- Halaszovich, T. F., & Lundan, S. M. (2016). The moderating role of local embeddedness on the performance of foreign and domestic firms in emerging markets. International Business Review, 25(5), 1136-1148. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ibusrev.2016.02.003
- Hennart, J. F. (2014). The accidental internationalists: a theory of born globals. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 38(1), 117-135. https://doi.org/10.1111/etap.12076
- Hultman, M., Katsikeas, C.S., & Robson, M. J. (2011). Export promotion strategy and performance: the role of international experience. Journal of International Marketing, 19(4), 17-39. https://doi.org/10.1509/jim.11.0022
- Iacovone, L., & Javorcik, B.S. (2010). Multi-Product Exporters: Product Churning, Uncertainty and Export Discoveries. The Economic Journal, 120, 481-499. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0297.2010.02356.x
- Kadochnikov, S. M., & Fedyunina, A. A. (2017). The impact of financial and human resources on the export performance of Russian firms. Economic Systems, 41(1), 41-51. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecosys.2016.11.001
- Katsikeas, C. S., Leonidou, L. C., & Morgan, N. A. (2000). Firm-level export performance assessment: review, evaluation, and development. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 28(4), 493-511. https://doi.org/10.1177/0092070300284003
- Katsikeas, C. S., Samiee, S., & Theodosiou, M. (2006). Strategy fit and performance consequences of international marketing standardization. Strategic Management Journal, 27(9), 867-890. https://doi.org/10.1002/smj.549
- Klein, S., & Roth, V. J. (1990). Determinants of export channel structure: The effects of experience and psychic distance reconsidered. International Marketing Review, 7, 27-38. https://doi.org/10.1108/EUM0000000001533
- Lages, L. F., & Montgomery, D. B. (2004). Export performance as an antecedent of export commitment and marketing strategy adaptation: Evidence from small and medium-sized exporters. European Journal of Marketing, 38(9/10), 1186-1214. https://doi.org/10.1108/03090560410548933
- Lages, L. F., Jap, S. D., & Griffith, D. A. (2008). The role of past performance in export ventures: a short-term reactive approach. Journal of International Business Studies, 39(2), 304-325. https://doi.org/10.1057/palgrave.jibs.8400339
- Lee, D., & Madhavan, R. (2010). Divestiture and Firm Performance: A Meta-Analysis. Journal of Management, 36(6), 1345-1371. https://doi.org/10.1177/0149206309360931
- Leonidou, L. C., Katsikeas, C. S., & Coudounaris, D. N. (2010). Five decades of business research into exporting: A bibliographic analysis. Journal of International Management, 16(1), 78-91. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.intman.2009.06.001
- Leonidou, L. C., Palihawadana, D., & Theodosiou, M. (2011). National Export-Promotion Programs as Drivers of Organizational Resources and Capabilities: Effects on Strategy, Competitive Advantage, and Performance. Journal of International Marketing, 19(2), 1-29. https://doi.org/10.1509/jimk.19.2.1
- Li, M., He, X., & Sousa, C. M. (2017). A review of the empirical research on export channel selection between 1979 and 2015. International Business Review, 26(2), 303-323. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ibusrev.2016.09.001
- Lipuma, J. A., Newbert, S. L., & Doh, J. P. (2013). The effect of institutional quality on firm export performance in emerging economies: a contingency model of firm age and size. Small Business Economics, 40(4), 817-841. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11187-011-9395-7
- Mah, J. S. (2005). Export expansion, economic growth and causality in China. Applied Economics Letters, 12(2), 105-107. https://doi.org/10.1080/1350485042000314343
- Martuscelli, A., & Varela, G. (2018). Survival is for the fittest: Export survival patterns in Georgia. Economic Systems, 42(3), 397-413. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecosys.2017.10.002
- Morgan, N. A., Katsikeas, C. S., & Vorhies, D. W. (2012). Export marketing strategy implementation, export marketing capabilities, and export venture performance. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 40, 271-289. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11747-011-0275-0
- Myers, M. B., & Cavusgil, S. T. (1996). Export pricing strategy-performance relationship: a conceptual framework. Advances in International Marketing, 8, 159-178
- North, D. C. (1990). Institutions, Institutional Change, and Economic Performance. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511808678
- Oliveira, J. S., Cadogan, J. W., & Souchon, A. (2012). Level of analysis in export performance research. International Marketing Review, 29(1), 114-127. https://doi.org/10.1108/02651331211201561
- Oliveira, J. S., Yazdani, N., Cadogan, J. W., Hodgkinson, I. R., Tsougkou, E., Story, V. M., & Boso, N. (2018). The empirical link between export entry mode diversity and export performance: A contingency-and institutional-based examination. Journal of Business Research, 88, 505-512. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2017.12.001
- Owen, S., & Yawson, A. (2006). Domestic or International: Divestitures in Australian Multinational Corporations. Global Finance Journal, 17, 282-293. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gfj.2006.04.002
- Pauwels, P. & Matthyssens, P. (2004). Strategic flexibility in export expansion: growing through withdrawal. International Marketing Review, 21(4/5), 496-510. https://doi.org/10.1108/02651330410547162
- Pauwels, P., & Matthyssens, P. (1999). A Strategy Process Perspective on Export Withdrawal. Journal of International Marketing, 7(3), 10-37. https://doi.org/10.1177/1069031X9900700304
- Peng, M. W., Zhou, Y., & York, A. S. (2006). Behind make or buy decisions in export strategy: A replication and extension of Trabold. Journal of World Business, 41(3), 289-300. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jwb.2006.01.006
- Peng, M. W. (2006). Global strategy. Cincinnati, OH: Thomson South-Western.
- Porter, M. E. (1980). Competitive strategy: Techniques for analyzing industries and competition. Free Press.
- Santos-Vijande, M. L., López-Sánchez, J., & Trespalacios, J. A. (2012). How organizational learning affects a firm’s flexibility, competitive strategy, and performance. Journal of Business Research, 65(8), 1079-1089. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2011.09.002
- Scott, W.R. (1995). Institutions and Organizations. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
- Seringhaus, F. H. R., & Botschen, G. (1991). Cross-National Comparison of Export Promotion Services: The Views of Canadian and Austrian Companies. Journal of International Business Studies, 22(1), 115-133
- Shenkar, O. (2001). Cultural distance revisited: Towards a more rigorous conceptualization and measurement of cultural differences. Journal of International Business Studies, 32(3), 519-535. https://doi.org/10.1057/jibs.2011.40
- Sousa, C. M. P., & Tan, Q. (2015). Exit from a foreign market: do poor performance, strategic fit, cultural distance, and international experience matter?. Journal of International Marketing, 23(4), 84-104. https://doi.org/10.1509/jim.15.0003
- Sousa, C. M., & Bradley, F. (2005). Global markets: does psychic distance matter?. Journal of Strategic Marketing, 13(1), 43-59. https://doi.org/10.1080/0965254042000328668
- Sousa, C. M., & Lages, L. F. (2011). The PD scale: a measure of psychic distance and its impact on international marketing strategy. International Marketing Review, 28(2), 201-222. https://doi.org/10.1108/02651331111122678
- Sousa, C. M., & Lengler, J. (2009). Psychic distance, marketing strategy and performance in export ventures of Brazilian firms. Journal of Marketing Management, 25(5-6), 591-610. https://doi.org/10.1362/026725709X461876
- Tan, Q., & Sousa, C. M. (2013). International marketing standardization. Management International Review, 53(5), 711-739. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11575-013-0172-5
- Theodosiou, M., & Leonidou, L. C. (2003). Standardization versus adaptation of international marketing strategy: an integrative assessment of the empirical research. International Business Review, 12(2), 141-171. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0969-5931(02)00094-X
- Trąpczyński, P., & Banalieva, E. R. (2016). Institutional difference, organizational experience, and foreign affiliate performance: Evidence from Polish firms. Journal of World Business, 51(5), 826-842. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jwb.2016.07.013
- Trąpczyński, P., & Halaszovich, T. (2021). Exploitation-exploration balance and its performance outcomes: A study of FDI portfolio decisions of new multinationals. Entrepreneurial Business and Economics Review, 9(4). Ahead-of-Print.
- Wilkinson, T., & Brouthers, L. E. (2006). Trade promotion and SME export performance. International Business Review, 15(3), 233-252. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ibusrev.2006.03.001
- Zott, C., Amit, R., & Massa, L. (2011). The business model: recent developments and future research. Journal of Management, 37(4), 1019-1042. https://doi.org/ 10.1177/0149206311406265