Adaptation practices and export performance: a study of exporting firms in Zimbabwe

Sibanda, Khutula (2007) Adaptation practices and export performance: a study of exporting firms in Zimbabwe. Doctorate (other than PhD) thesis, University of Southern Queensland. (Unpublished)


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There is not much research done, particularly in Zimbabwe on the relationship between export strategy adaptation and performance. This is so despite the poor export performance witnessed in the country over the last ten years. This paper provides results of a study that explored the following research question: How can the adaptation of export marketing mix strategies improve export performance in Zimbabwe?

It addressed this question through the identification of the key variables that contributed most to the discrimination between firms with high levels of export performance versus those with low levels of performance and those with high levels of strategy adaptation against ones with low levels of strategy adaptation.

A conceptual framework was adopted linking export performance to the following variables:
• Exporting mix strategy including the 4Ps (product, price, promotion and place/distribution).
• Organizational profile.
• Export environment.
• Product export-market venture and
• Managerial variables.

These variables were defined and operationalised using information obtained from literature review.

An exploratory research design was used to generate an insight into the patterns and associations of the above variables. Data was collected through a survey involving a randomly selected sample of 105 exporting organizations. A structured multi-item questionnaire with pre-tested constructs proved to exhibit high levels of reliability and validity. Discriminant analysis was used to identify the key discriminating variables.

The study showed that exporters with high levels of export strategy adaptations and high levels of export performance differed significantly from those with low levels of strategy adaptations in terms of the following variables: (a) size of the firm, (b) age, (c) ownership, (d) number of years of service with the company, (e) nature of the product, (f) product life cycle, (g) economic factors, (h) cultural factors, (i) political and legal factors, (j) commitment to the export venture, (k) education, (l) experience of the managers, and (m) export performance.

The overseas experience of management was found as a key variable that discriminated between exporting firms using low export strategy adaptations from those with high adaptations. This was followed by the strategic orientation of the company, cultural values and legislation respectively.

Strategy implementation was identified as a key discriminator of firms, with low levels of export performance against those with high levels of performance. This was followed by experience in international business and training, economic factors, size of the firm, cultural factors, strategic orientation, education and political/legal factors respectively.

The practical recommendations to industry are for them to consider the following success factors: (a) Adapt export-marketing strategies depending on the requirements of the intended markets in terms of price, product characteristics, promotion, distribution, culture, economics and political factors prevailing in the export markets. (b) Ensure consistent improvement of acquisition of relevant experience, knowledge and commitment to implementation of their strategies.

From a theoretical point of view, the study provides evidence that export performance can be linked to export marketing strategy adaptation. Other variables like economic factors, organization profile and managerial factors also affect export performance through strategy adaptation.

Knowledge of this linkage has been lacking in developing countries, including Zimbabwe. The study is therefore useful in guiding export managers in their activities and it gives more insight for future research in the field.

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Item Type: Thesis (Non-Research) (Doctorate (other than PhD))
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) (Pre-2008) thesis. The DBA as accredited from 1998 to 2007 was a professional doctorate with both coursework and research dissertation components.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Business - No Department (Up to 31 Dec 2010)
Supervisors: Ogunmokun, Gabriel
Date Deposited: 13 Jul 2009 07:01
Last Modified: 25 Sep 2019 04:40
Uncontrolled Keywords: export performance; exporting; firms; Zimbabwe
Fields of Research (2008): 15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1503 Business and Management > 150308 International Business
Fields of Research (2020): 35 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 3507 Strategy, management and organisational behaviour > 350706 International business

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