Territorial Intelligence and Export Performance of Maghreb SMEs

Territorial Intelligence and Export Performance of Maghreb SMEs

Bel Hadj Tarek (Faculty of Economics and Management of Sfax, Sfax, Tunisia), Mighri Zouhayer (Faculty of Economics and Management of Sfax, Sfax, Tunisia) and Aouadi Sami (Faculty of Economics and Management of Tunis, Tunis, Tunisia)
DOI: 10.4018/IJOCI.2015010104
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This paper aims to analyze the impact of the various devices of territorial intelligence on the export performance of SMEs based on their intensities of exports, in the specific case of the Maghreb SMEs. The originality of this paper lies in the lack of empirical studies in the subject of territorial intelligence in developing countries in general, and the Maghreb countries in particular, which is added the enhancement of the mediating effect of competitive intelligence of SMEs on the success of the territorial intelligence approach in terms of export performance.
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After the emergence of the new economy qualified as a knowledge economy and the new set of rules that impose, the sense of barriers has drastically changed according to which growth is achieved through a combination of new factors that come to consolidate the role of traditional factors, including the almost instant access to strategic information, collective knowledge production, massive use of information technology and communication (Drucker, 1998; Jacob, 2001; Ernst and Young, 2007). In fact, at present, the detection of high-value information is treated as a no less important as the human capital, material and natural resources and expenditure on R & D. To this end, if the technology facilitating message transmission (the container) is essential for the completion of a project, strategic information is the message content (Barney, 1991) which based on its value, rarity, imitation and substitutability. Starting from this idea, this information is an essential input for any innovation activity at any level.

Moreover, the requirements in terms of attractiveness and competitiveness, which are imposed by the new challenges of the international environment, push the territory to conglomerate its skills and collective action (Marten, Levet, Clerc 1994). Today, the concept of competitive intelligence (CI) is difficult to define given its complexity and multidimensional features. Indeed, the concept of CI encompasses and goes beyond simple monitoring system and its understanding depends on the entity. In addition, the territorial intelligence (TI) is not just a regional implementation of CI, but as an innovative and pooled organization, and with networks of all useful information and knowledge for development, competitiveness, attractiveness of a territory, collectively and for each of its actors. In other words, learn to use the CI tools is necessary but not sufficient when it concerns TI. In addition, the identification of the concept of TI often incorporates two fundamental concepts: CI and territory.

At the beginning of its appearance, the concept of CI has not concerned enough SMEs, where this it is often perceived, wrongly, as abstract and inaccessible. Indeed, the concept of intelligence was strongly biased by the geographic context in which it occurs. To this end, in France, the majority of thoughts are unanimous about the key features and objectives derived from the CI, which is intended to facilitate decision-making and requires actions related to the collection, processing, analysis, dissemination and secure of information available in the business environment. In the USA, the term is more focused on companies. We speak of “competitive intelligence”, incorporating the factor of competition and business competitiveness. While, this term was seen by the Anglo-Saxon approach as a synonym for “deep knowledge” confused sometimes with economic espionage, which in turn reflects the problem of its appropriation by SMEs.

If from the side of firm, CI often proves single and clearly defined its apprehension becomes more complex from the side of the territory. Indeed, a great difficulty lies in the multiplicity of institutions and actors in the same territory to carry out a project. In fact, a territory is an exchange surface between the actors and it is likened to a reticular organization with a collective identity, in which stakeholders invest resources in a common vision. The TI built an information system for local actors to become more efficient and it is treated as a new process for the exchange of strategic information locally.

It is in a global vision of territorial economic development, that TI gathering all means of collection and processing of information in order to help the decision of all stakeholders. Indeed, it is essential to have the means to anticipate the consequences related to the risks due to the pooling of information and knowledge among prospective foreign partners either in terms of environmental damage, human vulnerabilities and this, in order to provide protection for the community.

In this case, TI highlighted the problem of the management of the joints and the transfer of information between actors whose goal is the success of a territorial development strategy. To do this, TI transforms a territory into a local learning collective and forces all stakeholders to respect a global policy of the territory. In this case, an essential behavior of TI is that related to the trust that is an important ingredient of the collective action and the creation of a collective locally.

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