Inter-Firm Collaboration and Export Performance: A Mediation Analysis
Keywords:interfirm collaboration, industry export performance, firm export performance, Small and midsize enterprises
This study aims to encourage small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to collaborate to enhance export rate. It investigates the influence of inter-firm collaboration on industry export performance and how this relationship is mediated by firm export performance in SMEs of Pakistan. Data were collected using self-administered questionnaires distributed among 491 respondents (professionals of the SMEs involved in exports). This study analysed the data employing structural equation modeling to determine the relationship among variables; firm export performance, inter-firm collaboration and industry export performance. Mediation analysis was tested using Baron and Kenny’s procedure. Results revealed that inter-firm collaboration is an important factor in enhancing industry export performance and this relationship is significantly mediated by firm export performance. Industry export performance is an essential element for SMEs survival and growth. The study contributes theoretically and empirically by analysing the role of inter-firm collaboration in economic development and provides important implications for owners, managers, policymakers of SMEs, and export-related government agencies on improving cooperation.
Adomako, S., Amankwah-Amoah, J., Debrah, Y. A., Khan, Z., Chu, I., & Robinson, C. (2021). Institutional voids, economic adversity and inter-firm cooperation in an emerging market: the mediating role of government R&D support. British Journal of Management, 32(1).
Ahmad, N., Mahmood, A., Han, H., Ariza-Montes, A., Vega-Muñoz, A., Din, M. U., Khan, G. A., & Ullah, Z. (2021). Sustainability as a “new normal” for modern businesses: Are smes of pakistan ready to adopt it. Sustainability, 13(4).
Anwar, M., & Shah, S. Z. (2021). Entrepreneurial orientation and generic competitive strategies for emerging SMEs: Financial and nonfinancial performance perspective. Journal of Public Affairs, 21(1).
Atkin, D., Khandelwal, A. K., & Osman, A. (2017). Exporting and firm performance: Evidence from a randomized experiment. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 132(2), 551–615.
Azar, G., & Ciabuschi, F. (2017). Organizational innovation, technological innovation, and export performance: The effects of innovation radicalness and extensiveness. International Business Review, 26(2), 324–336.
Balassa, B. (1978). Exports and economic growth: further evidence. Journal of Development Economics, 5(2), 181–189.
Barney, J. B. (2001). Resource-based theories of competitive advantage: A ten-year retrospective on the resource-based view. Journal of Management, 27(6).
Baron, R. M., & Kenny, D. A. (1986). The moderator-mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: Conceptual, strategic, and statistical considerations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51(6).
Bhavani, T. A., & Tendulkar, S. D. (2001). Determinants of firm-level export performance: a case study of Indian textile garments and apparel industry. Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, 10(1).
Bilkey, W. J. (1982). Variables associated with export profitability. Journal of International Business Studies, 13(2).
Blomqvist, K., & Levy, J. (2006). Collaboration capability-a focal concept in knowledge creation and collaborative innovation in networks. International Journal of Management Concepts and Philosophy, 2(1), 31–48.
Brooks, M. R., & Rosson, P. J. (1982). A study of export behavior of small and mediumsized manufacturing firms in three Canadian provinces. Export management: An international Context, 39–54.
Burhan, M., Salam, M. T., Hamdan, O. A., & Tariq, H. (2021). Crisis management in the hospitality sector SMEs in Pakistan during COVID-19. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 98.
Calantone, R. J., Kim, D., Schmidt, J. B., & Cavusgil, S. T. (2006). The influence of internal and external firm factors on international product adaptation strategy and export performance: a three-country comparison. Journal of Business Research, 59(2).
Cambra-Fierro, J., Florin, J., Perez, L., & Whitelock, J. (2011). Inter-firm market orientation as antecedent of knowledge transfer, innovation and value creation in networks. Management Decision, 49(3).
Cao, M., Vonderembse, M. A., Zhang, Q., & Ragu-Nathan, T. S. (2010). Supply chain collaboration: conceptualisation and instrument development. International Journal of Production Research, 48(22).
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).
Chen, B., & Feng, Y. (2000). Determinants of economic growth in China: Private enterprise, education, and openness. China Economic Review, 11(1).
Cooper, R., Hartley, K., & Harvey, C. R. M. (2018). Export performance and the pressure of demand: a study of firms. Routledge.
Cui, T., Tong, Y., Teo, H. H., & Li, J. (2020). Managing knowledge distance: IT-enabled inter-firm knowledge capabilities in collaborative innovation. Journal of Management Information Systems, 37(1).
Dodgson, M. (2018). Technological collaboration in industry: strategy, policy and internationalization in innovation. Routledge.
Durmuşoğlu, S. S., Apfelthaler, G., Nayir, D. Z., Alvarez, R., & Mughan, T. (2012). The effect of government-designed export promotion service use on small and mediumsized enterprise goal achievement: A multidimensional view of export performance. Industrial Marketing Management, 41(4).
Emőke-Szidónia, F. (2015). International entrepreneurial orientation and performance of Romanian small and medium-sized firms: empirical assessment of direct and environment moderated relations. Procedia Economics and Finance, 32(1), 186–193.
Erdoğan, S., Yıldırım, D. Ç., & Gedikli, A. (2020). Natural resource abundance, financial development and economic growth: an investigation on Next-11 countries. Resources Policy, 65.
Fletcher, M., & Harris, S. (2012). Knowledge acquisition for the internationalization of the smaller firm: Content and sources. International Business Review, 21(4), 631–647.
Forés, B., & Camisón, C. (2016). Does incremental and radical innovation performance depend on different types of knowledge accumulation capabilities and organizational size? Journal of Business Research, 69(2), 831–848.
Gueler, M. S., & Schneider, S. (2021). The resource-based view in business ecosystems: A perspective on the determinants of a valuable resource and capability. Journal of Business Research, 133, 158–169.
He, L. Y., & Huang, G. (2020). Processing trade and energy efficiency: Evidence from Chinese manufacturing firms. Journal of Cleaner Production, 276.
Hernández-Espallardo, M., Sánchez-Pérez, M., & Segovia-López, C. (2011). Exploitation and exploration-based innovations: the role of knowledge in inter-firm relationships with distributors. Technovation, 31(5-6), 203–215.
Herr, H., & Nettekoven, Z. M. (2018). The role of small and medium-sized enterprises in development: what can be learned from the German experience? . Global Labour University Working Paper(53).
Hocevar, S. P., Jansen, E., & Thomas, G. F. (2012). Inter-organizational collaborative capacity (ICC) assessment. Naval Postgraduate School.
Hu, L. T., & Bentler, P. M. (1999). Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: Conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 6(1).
Imran, M., Aziz, A., & Hamid, S. (2017). Determinants of SME export performance. International Journal of Data and Network Science, 1(2), 39–58.
Jambou, M., Torre, A., Dermine-Brullot, S., & Bourdin, S. (2022). Inter-firm cooperation and local industrial ecology processes: evidence from three French case studies. The Annals of Regional Science, 68(2), 331–358.
Javed, A., Yasir, M., & Majid, A. (2018). Psychological factors and entrepreneurial orientation: could education and supportive environment moderate this relationship? Pakistan Journal of Commerce and Social Sciences (PJCSS), 12(2), 571–597.
Johanson, J., & Vahlne, J. E. (1990). The mechanism of internationalisation. International Marketing Review, 7(4), 11–24.
Jucevičius, G., & Jucevičienė, R. (2022). Enabling collaborative dynamic capabilities in strategic communities: Firm-vs. network-centric perspectives. Journal of Management & Organization, 28(3), 587–604.
Khan, S. H., Majid, A., Yasir, M., Javed, A., & Shah, H. A. (2021). The role of social capital in augmenting strategic renewal of SMEs: does entrepreneurial orientation and organizational flexibility really matter? Management and Sustainable Development, 17(2), 227–245.
Khurrum, S., Bhutta, M., Rana, A. I., & Asad, U. (2008). Owner characteristics and health of SMEs in Pakistan. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 15(1), 130–149.
Klein, V. B., & Todesco, J. L. (2021). COVID-19 crisis and SMEs responses: The role of digital transformation. Knowledge and Process Management, 28(2), 117–133.
Kohtamäki, M., Partanen, J., Parida, V., & Wincent, J. (2013). Non-linear relationship between industrial service offering and sales growth: The moderating role of network capabilities. Industrial Marketing Management, 42(8).
Kureshi, N. I., Mann, R., Khan, M. R., & Qureshi, M. F. (2009). Quality management practices of SME in developing countries: a survey of manufacturing SME in Pakistan. Journal of Quality and Technology Management, 5(2), 63–89.
Lavie, D. (2006). The competitive advantage of interconnected firms: An extension of the resource-based view. Academy of Management Review, 31(3), 638–658.
Lee, S., Park, G., Yoon, B., & Park, J. (2010). Open innovation in SMEs—An intermediated network model. Research Policy, 39(2), 290–300.
Leonidou, L. C. (2004). An analysis of the barriers hindering small business export development. Journal of Small Business Management, 42(3), 279–302.
Leonidou, L. C., Katsikeas, C. S., & Samiee, S. (2002). Marketing strategy determinants of export performance: a meta-analysis. Journal of Business Research, 55(1), 51–67.
Leung, T. Y., & Sharma, P. (2021). Differences in the impact of R&D intensity and R&D internationalization on firm performance-Mediating role of innovation performance. Journal of Business Research, 131, 81–91.
Liem, T., Khuong, N. V., Khanh, N., & H, T. (2019). Firm constraints on the link between proactive innovation, open innovation and firm performance. Journal of Open Innovation: Technology, Market, and Complexity, 5(4).
Lin, K. H., & Chaney, I. (2007). The influence of domestic interfirm networks on the internationalization process of Taiwanese SMEs. Asia Pacific Business Review, 13(4).
Loebbecke, C., Van Fenema, P. C., & Powell, P. (2016). Managing inter-organizational knowledge sharing. The Journal of Strategic Information Systems, 25(1), 4–14.
Manolova, T. S., Manev, I. M., & Gyoshev, B. S. (2010). In good company: The role of personal and inter-firm networks for new-venture internationalization in a transition economy. Journal of World Business, 45(3), 257–265.
Mata, M. N., Falahat, M., Correia, A. B., & Rita, J. X. (2021). Impact of institutional support on export performance. Economies, 9(3).
Mcevily, B., Perrone, V., & Zaheer, A. (2003). Trust as an organizing principle. Organization Science, 14(1).
Mokhtarzadeh, N. G., Mahdiraji, H. A., Jafarpanah, I., Jafari-Sadeghi, V., & Cardinali, S.(2020). Investigating the impact of networking capability on firm innovation performance: using the resource-action-performance framework. Journal of Intellectual Capital, 21(6).
Nambisan, S., Zahra, S. A., & Luo, Y. (2019). Global platforms and ecosystems: Implications for international business theories. Journal of International Business Studies, 50(9), 1464–1486.
Narula, R. (2004). R&D collaboration by SMEs: new opportunities and limitations in the face of globalisation. Technovation, 24(2), 153–161.
Ntale, P. D., & Ssempebwa, J. (2022). Designing organizations for collaborative relationships: the amenability of social capital to inter-agency collaboration in the graduate employment context in Uganda. Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal, 34(3), 291–318.
Oliver, C. (1990). Determinants of interorganizational relationships: Integration and future directions. Academy of Management Review, 15(2).
Oura, M. M., Zilber, S. N., & Lopes, E. L. (2016). Innovation capacity, international experience and export performance of SMEs in Brazil. International Business Review, 25(4), 921–932.
Owen-Smith, J., & Powell, W. W. (2004). Knowledge networks as channels and conduits: The effects of spillovers in the Boston biotechnology community. Organization Science, 15(1), 5–21.
Paladino, A., Widing, R., & Whitwell, G. (2015). Internal and external organisational orientations: Comparing the resource based view and market orientation. In Global perspectives in marketing for the 21st century: Proceedings of the 1999 World Marketing Congress (pp. 338–338). Springer International Publishing.
Paul, J., Parthasarathy, S., & Gupta, P. (2017). Exporting challenges of SMEs: A review and future research agenda. Journal of World Business, 52(3), 327–342.
Porter, M. E. (1980). Industry structure and competitive strategy: Keys to profitability. Financial Analysts Journal, 36(4).
Preacher, K. J., & Hayes, A. F. (2008). Asymptotic and resampling strategies for assessing and comparing indirect effects in multiple mediator models. Behavior Research Methods, 40(3), 879–891.
Reza, S., Mubarik, M. S., Naghavi, N., & Nawaz, R. R. (2021). Internationalisation challenges of SMEs: role of intellectual capital. International Journal of Learning and Intellectual Capital, 18(3), 252–277.
Rialp-Criado, A., & Rialp-Criado, J. (2018). Examining the impact of managerial involvement with social media on exporting firm performance. International Business Review, 27(2), 355–366.
Sarti, D. (2017). External Knowledge Sources and Knowledge Integration Mechanisms for Organizational Performance: Evidence from Italian SMEs. In S. Sindakis & P. Theodorou (Eds.), Global Opportunities for Entrepreneurial Growth: Coopetition and Knowledge Dynamics within and across Firms (Advanced Strategies in Entrepreneurship, Education and Ecology) (pp. 253–272). Bingley: Emerald Publishing Limited.
Shah, H. A., Yasir, M., Majid, A., & Javed, A. (2019). Impact of Networking Capability on Organizational Survival of SMEs: Mediating Role of Strategic Renewal. Pakistan Journal of Commerce and Social Sciences, 13(3), 559–580.
Shoham, A. (1991). Performance in exporting: a state-of-the-art literature review and synthesis and directions for future research. In conference of the Academy of International Business.
Siddharthan, N. S., & Nollen, S. (2004). MNE affiliation, firm size and exports revisited: A study of information technology firms in India. Journal of Development Studies, 40(6).
Singh, D. A. (2009). Export performance of emerging market firms. International Business Review, 18(4).
Soliman, M. S. M., & Noorliza, K. (2020). Explaining the competitive advantage of enterprise resource planning adoption: insights Egyptian higher education institutions. Journal of Information Technology Management, 12(4), 1–21.
Sung, B., Soh, J. Y., & Park, C. G. (2022). Comparing government support, firm heterogeneity, and inter-firm spillovers for productivity enhancement: Evidence from the Korean solar energy technology industry. Energy(246).
Tomiura, E. (2007). Effects of R&D and networking on the export decision of Japanese firms. Research Policy, 36(5).
Tookey, D. A. (1964). Factors associated with success in exporting. Journal of Management Studies, 1(1), 48–66.
Vatne, E., & Taylor, M. (2018). The Networked Firm in a Global World: Small Firms in New Environments. (1st ed.). London: Routledge.
Č Kostevc. (2022). Ownership structure and firm export performance: evidence from Slovenian microdata. Empirica, 49, 155–187.
Wang, G., & Olsen, J. E. (2002). Knowledge, performance, and exporter satisfaction: an exploratory study. Journal of Global Marketing, 15(3-4), 39–64.
Wolf, E. J., Harrington, K. M., Clark, S. L., & Miller, M. W. (2013). Sample size requirements for structural equation models: An evaluation of power, bias, and solution propriety. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 73(6).
Zafar, M., Waqas, M., & Butt, M. N. (2019). The Role of Small and Medium Enterprises on Poverty Reduction in Developing Country: A Case of Pakistan. Business & Economic Review, 20(3), 703–713.
Zhang, J., & Pezeshkan, A. (2016). Host country network, industry experience, and international alliance formation: Evidence from the venture capital industry. Journal of World Business, 51(2), 264–277.
Zulkifli-Muhammad, M., Char, A. K., Yasoa, M. R. B., & Hassan, Z. (2009). Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) competing in the global business environment: A case of Malaysia. International Business Research, 3(1), 66–75.
Zulu-Chisanga, S., Chabala, M., & Mandawa-Bray, B. (2020). The differential effects of government support, inter-firm collaboration and firm resources on SME performance in a developing economy. Journal of Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies, 13(2), 175–195.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2023 Khalid Mehmood, Muhammad Yasir, Abdul Majid, Asad Javed
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Copyright: The Authors