Strategic Determinants of SME Export Performance: The Mediating Effect of Competitive Strategy

  • Alexandra França
  • Orlando Lima Rua
Part of the Studies on Entrepreneurship, Structural Change and Industrial Dynamics book series (ESID)


How to manage firms’ resources and capabilities to sustain competitive advantages remains an intriguing research inquiry of strategic management science. With its focus on the context of small firm internationalisation, this study assesses the important contribution of strategic determinants that influence export performance, considering the mediating effect of competitive strategy.

Based on survey data from Portuguese small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) findings suggest that entrepreneurial orientation has a positive and significant influence on differentiation and export performance. Moreover, the results also highlight the role of intangible resources in the design of both differentiation and cost leadership strategies, which drives export performance. Finally, absorptive capacity is highly related with differentiation and export performance.

This study deepens our understanding and provides novel insights into entrepreneurship and strategic management literature, since it combines multiple factors and has obtained the importance of each construct in SMEs competitive strategies and business growth. Moreover, this research presents further evidences of the strategies that small firm managers should pursue and policy makers should promote.


Entrepreneurial orientation Intangible resources Absorptive capacity Competitive advantage Export performance 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexandra França
    • 1
  • Orlando Lima Rua
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Economics and ManagementUniversity of MinhoBragaPortugal
  2. 2.Centre for Organizational and Social Studies of P. Porto (CEOS.PP), Applied Management Research Unit (UNIAG)School of Accounting and Administration, Polytechnic of PortoS. Mamede de InfestaPortugal

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