Proactive and Responsive Export Market Orientation Behaviours, Antecedents, and Firm Performance: A Qualitative Study on Exporting SMEs

Proactive and Responsive Export Market Orientation Behaviours, Antecedents, and Firm Performance: A Qualitative Study on Exporting SMEs

Asmat Nizam Abdul-Talib, Ili-Salsabila Abd-Razak
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3042-9.ch012
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This paper details about the qualitative study of proactive and responsive export market orientation. An interview series was conducted to assess whether the issue of proactive and responsive export market orientation exist among exporters, identification of the exporters' characteristics (antecedents) and understand the behaviors effect on performance consequences. Findings from the interview were recorded in a qualitative codebook. Discussions and conclusion made on the qualitative findings revealed that the issue of proactive and responsive export market orientation is present, different characteristics lead to different behaviors, and the behaviors affect the exporters' performance consequences differently.
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Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) contribute significantly to inclusive economic development and employment around the globe. According to a report by OECD/ERIA in 2018 (SME Policy Index: ASEAN 2018), SMEs in ASEAN, including micro-enterprises, form around 97% to 99% of enterprise population in member states, and they are mostly engaged in labour-intensive and low value-added industries, such as retail, trade and agricultural activities. While the enterprises account for the largest share of employment in the economy at around 66.3%, their contribution to the gross value added is only 42.2%, suggesting that their productivity and growth are trailing behind the larger enterprises.

A similar report by ERIA-OECD in 2014 (ASEAN SME Policy Index 2014) indicated that SMEs are underrepresented as exporters, with only 10% to 30% of them are engaged in export activities. However, Gonzalez (2017) found that the SMEs engaged in export activities appeared to be exporters instead of buyers of foreign inputs, suggesting that the exporting SMEs have more export market orientation to push their products and services to the international market than larger enterprises. It is therefore interesting to investigate exporting SME behaviors of export market orientation, the antecedents of the behaviors, and the impact on their performance.

There is a growing scholarly interest in proactive and responsive market orientation behaviors. The literature informs about the generic activities of market orientation that focus on the intelligence of latent or new needs (proactive market orientation) and current or expressed needs (responsive market orientation). Since the seminal works of Jaworski, Kohli, and Sahay (2000), and Narver, Slater, and MacLahlan (2004) on the dimensions of market orientation, the number of research studies on the topic is growing. Past studies have examined the relationship between proactive and responsive market orientation behaviors and new product success (e.g., Atuahene-Gima, Slater, & Olsen, 2005; Narver et al., 2004; Tsai, Chou, & Kuo, 2008), entrepreneurship and innovation (e.g., Li, Lin, & Chu, 2008; Nasution, Mavondo, Matanda, & Ndubisi, 2011; Zhang & Duan, 2010), competitive strategies (e.g., Voola & O'Cass, 2010), the ambidextrous and dynamic effects (e.g., Alpkan, Sanal, & Ayden, 2012; Herhausen, 2016; Wei, Zhao, & Zhang, 2014), and export performance (e.g., Munawar, Rahayu, Disman, & Wibowo, 2019), among others.

According to Jaworski et al. (2000), the early literature on market orientation appeared to focus on responsive behaviors only. However, concentrating on a single dimension of export market orientation does not comprehensively inform how exporting business organisations behave. Hence, the dual dimensions of market orientation behavior (proactive and responsive) were proposed to address the concern (Atuahene-Gima et al., 2005; Jaworski et al., 2000; Narver et al., 2004), resulting in a significant increase in the number of studies examining the issue, thus, contributing to the current body of knowledge.

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