Article

Small Business Economics

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 49-68

Toward a Contingency Framework of Export Entrepreneurship: Conceptualisations and Empirical Evidence

  • Kevin I. N. IbehAffiliated withStrathclyde International Business Unit, Department of Marketing, University of Strathclyde

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Abstract

This paper reports the findings of a study, which employed a contingency, export-entrepreneurial approach to investigate the critical influences on export venture creation among a sample of Nigerian small firms. Responding to the repeated calls in the literature for multi-disciplinary research frameworks, the paper draws on perspectives from entrepreneurship, exporting, and contingency literatures to examine the antecedent and moderating influences on the export behavior of small firms. It explores, in particular, the effect of entrepreneurial orientation and external environmental moderators in the export venture creation process of small firms. The findings suggest that an entrepreneurial orientation is associated with better export venturing, and is the appropriate strategic posture for small firms operating in hostile environments. It would appear, also, that this orientation is associated with certain decision-maker characteristics (including international orientation and contacts and previous business experience) and firm-level competencies. By thus highlighting the entrepreneurial dimensions of export venturing, this paper makes the case for greater policy focus on strengthening the entrepreneurial foundations/capacities of small firms.