A special issue of European Journal of International Management
As of today, worldwide exporting accounts for more than 10% of global economic activity (e.g. International Monetary Fund, 2001; World Bank, 2001), world trade increased 16-fold between 1950 and 2000, and international trade flows relative to GDP have doubled between 1970 and 2000 (OECD, 2005). With export quotas in excess of 40%, exports have become a major source of national income for many small, open economies and a source of growth and survival for many micro, small, medium and large enterprises, especially in Europe. Relative to the discussions about various aspects of the global business activities of a multinational enterprise, the extant international business literature is dedicating surprisingly little attention to exporting as a mode of market entry. Little is still known about companies’ motivations to engage in exporting activities, ways and means of assessing their readiness to export, how and to what extent marketing-mix decisions are made in exporting companies, or how foreign target markets are selected, which warrants a closer look at these topics.
Of more specific interest is the academic discourse about export performance. Interest in export performance stems from two sources. Governments consider exports as engines of growth and are therefore concerned about the ways of improving their firms’ performances in export markets (Zou, Taylor and Osland, 1998). From the point of view of public policy makers, a better understanding of export performance is important, as exports allow for the accumulation of foreign exchange reserves, result in increased employment levels, improved productivity, and – ultimately - enhanced prosperity (Czinkota, 1994). From the corporate point of view, there has been agreement that export performance is considered a tool to boost corporate growth, strengthen competitive edge, and ensure company survival in a highly competitive marketplace (Samiee and Walters, 1990; Terpstra and Sarathy, 2000).
And yet, little do we know about the determinants and the measurement of export performance. Whilst the definition and determinants of export performance (e.g. Sousa and Alserhan, 2002; Cavusgil and Kirpalani, 1993; Samiee and Anckar, 1998) or factors contributing to export performance have received noticeable research attention (e.g. Aaby and Slater, 1989; Cavusgil and Zou, 1994; Zou, Taylor and Osland, 1998; Thirkell and Dau, 1998), we are still far from a basic agreement. As an example, most studies in the field have measured export performance using objectively verifiable indicators such as export sales, export growth, export profitability, export market share, or export intensity (Zou, Taylor and Osland, 1998). Others have suggested to use subjective scales in the measurement of export performance and even include dimensions such as organizational learning. The further discussion of both such traditional and innovative approaches should shed more light into the matter.
Another important aspect in the research of exporting is export promotion. By providing the knowledge and competence applied to export market development (Gencturk and Kotabe, 2001), governments worldwide try to assist in the development of firms’ competitiveness. There is seldom a government which does not provide a plethora of export assistance or export promotion services through one or several – sometimes many – government and semi-government institutions and programs. So far, the effectiveness of these programmes has not been researched thoroughly and is still far from being clear. According to some researchers, export promotion programmes have impressive results speaking for them. For instance, Coughlin and Cartwright (1987) have found that for every increase of $1 in public export assistance expenditures there is a $432 increase in exports. In a more recent study about export performance of firms in Chile, Alvarez (2004) has shown that permanent and successful exporters have used public export promotion programmes more intensively than less successful exporters. There are others who argue that rather than public export programmes it is the market forces which determine the export performance of firms. Reliable evidence, according to the critics, is simply not available (Nothdurft, 1992). The jury on this issue is still out, and so we would like to encourage new and innovative contributions to this field.
Topics covered include, but are not limited to:
Exporting in general:
- The role of exports for national economies.
- Motivation to engage in exporting activities.
- Corporate readiness for exporting.
- Exporting and marketing-mix decisions.
- Foreign target market selection.
- Export development in small and medium-sized enterprises.
- The importance of exports for company growth.
- Determinants of export performance.
- Objective vs. subjective measurements of export performance
- Measurement models of export performance.
- The role of national governments in export promotion.
- New approaches to export promotion.
- Measuring export promotion effectiveness.
We are looking to include both conceptual and empirical papers in this special issue. Papers with a multi-country, comparative perspective will be preferred.
Deadline for submissions of completed papers: 1 May, 2008
Double blind review of paper and feedback from review given to the author(s) by: 15 August, 2008
Deadline for final submission of corrected papers: 15 November, 2008
No changes can be made to the papers after: 1 February, 2009