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Antecedentsand Consequencesof

Firms’ Export Commitment: An

Empirical Study
Antonio Navarro, Francisco J. Acedo , Matthew J. Robson ,
Emilio Ruzo, and Fernando Losada

Theory posits that export commitment is key to the effective implementation of resource-led strateg y. The authors
investigate the role of export commitment, considered a multidimensional construct, in linking export resources and
capabilities to positional advantages achieved in foreign markets. They test their resource-based view assertions among a
multi-industry sample of 150 Spanish exporters. The results show that experiential resources, specific export capabili-
ties, and export market orientation (EMO) reinforce export commitment, which exerts a positive effect on perceived
positional advantages. These perceptions also are likely to be positive if the firm adapts its marketing mix to the needs
of its foreign markets. Moreover, the results show that EMO exerts a positive influence on marketing-mix adaptation.
Resources linked to experience and informational knowledge about foreign markets foster the development of capabili-
ties (i.e., specific export capabilities and/or EMO). Finally, the results indicate that specific export capabilities influence
EMO. The authors conclude with a discussion of practical implications for facilitating export competitive strategy and

Keywords: export commitment, perceived positional advantages, adaptation of marketing strategy, export market
orientation, specific export capabilities, export resources, dynamic capabilities view

xporting is the basic entry mode into foreign
markets, and traditionally, this field has generated management exercises. Indeed, the literature treats
great managerial and scholarly interest. Internal drivers management attitudes as malleable elements that can
of export outcomes have received the bulk of research foster the progress of the company in its export
attention because they are the primary control market operations (Lages, Jap, and Griffith 2008).
Among these attitudes, Aaby and Slater’s (1989) and
Zou and Stan’s (1998) reviews give a main role to
Antonio Navarro is Associate Professor of Marketing and export commitment. The public policy implications of
Market Research (e-mail:, and F rancisco export commitment are understood. By assessing
J. A ce do is Associate Professor of Strategic Management firms’ levels of export commitment, national govern-
(e-mail:, Business Management Faculty,
ments can identify appropriate forms of assistance (e.g.,
University of Sevilla.
educational programs focusing on the attractiveness of
Matthew J. Robson is Professor of Marketing, Leeds Uni- exporting, funding to go to international trade fairs)
versity Business School, University of Leeds (e-mail: (Singer and Czinkota 1994).
Emilio Ruzo is Associate Professor of Marketing and Market
Research (e-mail:, danFernando Losad a Journal of International Marketing
is Associate Professor of Marketing and Market Research ©2010, American Marketing Association
(e-mail:, Business Management Vol. 18, No. 3, 2010, pp. 41–61
Faculty of Lugo, University of Santiago. ISSN 1069-0031X (print) 1547-7215 (electronic)
Firms’ Export Commitment 41
Inspection of the exporting literature reveals studies Third, we develop a multidimensional conceptualization
(e.g., Beamish et al. 1999; Styles and Ambler 2000) that of export commitment that takes into account current
theorize that export commitment is a direct antecedent and anticipated commitment levels. Existing conceptu-
of performance. However, prior research has concen- alizations emphasize export venture planning and
trated on the role of strategy in general and marketing resource levels within unidimensional measurements.
program adaptation/standardization in particular in With few exceptions—such as O’Cass and Julian’s
leading to export performance outcomes (Hultman, (2003) measure, which includes an item on resources
Robson, and Katsikeas 2009; Sousa, Martinez-Ló pez, available for export development—previous studies
and Coelho 2008). In line with the influential structure– have concentrated on current commitment. Notwith-
conduct–performance framing, several studies (e.g., standing the importance of current behavioral commit-
Lages, Jap, and Griffith 2008; Lages and Montgomery ments, the commitment literature (e.g., Kim and Frazier
2004; Naidu and Prasad 1994; O’Cass and Julian 2003) 1997) has also highlighted the importance of the stabil-
treat export commitment as an antecedent or contin- ity of attitudinal commitment sentiments.
gency factor that affects international marketing
strategy, which in turn determines performance. We organize the remainder of the article as follows: The
Exporters could be forgiven for finding it easier to for- next section discusses the nature of export commitment.
mulate strategies that outline how they intend to achieve Then, we present the theoretical background of the con-
their goals than to implement strategies using appropri- ceptual model using the RBV, along with study hypothe-
ating mechanisms (Beamish et al. 1999; Vorhies and ses. Next, we explain the research methods involved in
Morgan 2003). developing our data from a multi-industry sample of
150 exporters. We follow this with the study results and
Using the resource-based view (RBV), we theorize a a discussion that draws conclusions from these and pro-
central role for export commitment in the effective vides implications for theory and management practice.
implementation of resource-led strategy. Export com- The work ends with limitations and suggested future
mitment is defined as the willingness of a firm’s manage- lines of research.
ment to devote adequate financial, managerial, and
human resources to exporting activities (Donthu
and Kim 1993). Our study makes three main contribu- EXPORT COMMITMENT: CONCEPT
tions. First, prior work has found that export commit- AND NATURE
ment increases the likelihood of success in foreign mar-
kets. However, this work assumes a direct link with
performance outcomes, and as yet, studies have not A review of the literature reveals two main approaches
linked export commitment to positional advantage to conceptualizing export commitment. First, studies
in export markets. Our RBV framing is the first to have depicted commitment as an attitude—as an endur-
stipulate this. ing positive disposition held by management toward the
act of exporting. For example, Bello and Barksdale
Second, the study is novel in investigating the role (1986) argue that committed exporters believe strongly
of export commitment, alongside marketing-mix that exporting can contribute to achievement of their
adaptation, in mediating the relationships of resources firms’ goals, and Cavusgil and Nevin (1981) argue that
(scale, experiential, structural, and informational) and committed exporters are willing to devote necessary
capabilities (specific export capabilities and export resources to exporting. Second, a stream of studies has
market orientation [EMO]) with perceived positional conceptualized export commitment as a behavior, focus-
advantages. Previous studies (Cavusgil and Zou 1994; ing on manifestations of the construct. Cavusgil and
Zou and Stan 1998) have explained that managers Zou (1994), as well as recent studies employing their
committed to exporting carefully plan the entry and measures (e.g., Lages, Jap, and Griffith 2008), capture
allocate sufficient managerial and nonmanagerial commitment as the amount of planning, financial, and
resources to their export ventures. This means that managerial resources the firm allocates to exporting.
resource strategy can be implemented effectively. Such Despite the performance relevance of behavioral com-
an implementation-related performance effect comple- mitment, theorists (e.g., Leonidou, Katsikeas, and Piercy
ments the formulation-related outcomes of marketing- 1998) argue that a comprehensive picture of commit-
mix adaptation frequently observed in the exporting ment can only be obtained by incorporating attitudes as
literature. well as behaviors.

42 Journal of International Marketing

Applying the RBV, we theorize that export commitment However, a limitation of traditional RBV frameworks is
offers strategic guidelines that orientate managers’ deci- unawareness of implementation issues. Strategic actions
sion making in foreign markets and helps improve the must attend not only to strategy formulation matters
efficiency and effectiveness of the resource allocation but also to organization behaviors or activities that
going forward (Lages and Montgomery 2004). If export permit proper strategy implementation. We posit that
commitment increases managers’ willingness to make export commitment serves as the organizing mechanism
efforts to achieve export objectives, it is important that that enables firms to exploit the full potential of
behavioral commitments are made in the present and resource-basedstrategy. Processes that build and adjust
that these commitments are ongoing. This reflection on resources and capabilities in line with environmental
the continuity of commitment and allied attitudinal sen- flux can continuously shape attitudes and behaviors
timents (Frazier and Rody 1991) is in line with research toward exporting that provide the platform for exploit-
in marketing and management (see Kim and Frazier ing the resource base. Therefore, our conceptual model
1997). (see Figure 1) identifies relationships of resources and
capabilities with export commitment and marketing-
We argue that export commitment is an organizational mix adaptation, both of which lead to perceived posi-
variable that focuses on how firms currently function tional advantage.
and intend to make improvements in leveraging export
resources. Thus, we view export commitment as a multi- Our model acknowledges the key distinction between
dimensional and dynamic phenomenon that comprises resources and capabilities (Day 1994). Resources are the
both behavioral and attitudinal dimensions (Pauwels firm-controlled asset stocks that constitute the raw
and Matthyssens 1999; Stump, Athaide, and Axinn materials available to the firm for developing export
1999). Specifically, we posit that export commitment activity (Black and Boal 1994). Although many
consists of current export commitment, defined by the resources may be available to exporters, four emerged as
financial, managerial, and human resources the firm particularly important in our fieldwork: (1) resources
currently dedicates to foreign trade operations to derived from the firm’s size (scale resources)that are an
achieve its goals (Cavusgil and Zou 1994), and antici- indicator of managerial and financial assets available for
pated export commitment, which pertains to managers’ export activity (Dhanaraj and Beamish 2003); (2)
willingness to dedicate financial, managerial, and resources associated with the firm’s experience in for-
human resources to ongoing export activity (Donthu eign markets (experiential resources), which reduce
and Kim 1993). uncertainty and foster the exporter’s learning ability
(Cavusgil and Zou 1994); (3) resources derived from
formal structuring—that is, whether an export depart-
CONCEPTUAL MODEL AND ment exists (structural resources)—which are considered
HYPOTHESES a preparatory move toward developing significant for-
eign trade activity (Donthu and Kim 1993); and (4)
To advance knowledge about export commitment, we resources associated with foreign market research
must conceptualize its antecedents and consequences (informational resources) that enable export marketing
using a robust theoretical lens. The RBV is one of the programs to match the needs of channel members and
most widely accepted theories in international market- foreign customers (Morgan, Kaleka, and Katsikeas
ing (Jean, Sinkovics, and Kim 2010; Lages, Silva, and 2004).
Styles 2009). This theory characterizes firms as unique
bundles of resources and capabilities that are available Capabilities are the organizational processes by which
for the firms’ business ventures to deploy (e.g., Hamel available resources are developed, combined, and trans-
and Prahalad 1994). Heterogeneity in the resources and formed into value offerings for the export market (Day
capabilities ultimately leads to variations in firm per- 1994; Teece, Pisano, and Shuen 1997). Our literature
formance (Teece, Pisano, and Shuen 1997). Resource- search and fieldwork suggested two types of capabilities
based logic holds that export managers use resources that could ultimately lead to export advantage: (1) spe-
and capabilities in devising strategic actions that achieve cific export capabilities, which derive from managers’
competitive superiority in the form of positional advan- characteristics and certain export activity skills (e.g.,
tages in overseas markets (Morgan, Kaleka, and Kat- Zou and Stan 1998), and (2) market-sensing capabilities
sikeas 2004). An exporter’s advantageous value offering achieved through the firm’s EMO. Acquiring and dis-
to customers and cost position in realizing the value seminating information about customers, competitors,
drive its performance (Day and Wensley 1988).

Firms’ Export Commitment 43

Figure 1. GraphicalDescriptionof M odel

R esources


system positional

Specific export



channels, and the broader export market environment formance outcomes (Cavusgil and Zou 1994; Donthu
can help reduce uncertainty in export marketing and and Kim 1993; Lages, Jap, and Griffith 2008; Stump,
enable efficacy in the design and implementation of Athaide, and Axinn 1999). Still, the influence of export
responses directed toward export markets (Cadogan, commitment on positional advantages has not been
Diamantopoulos, and De Mortanges 1999). studied in the literature, and thus additional research is
required. Our framing of positional advantage as an
Export Commitment and Perceived outcome variable of note is consistent with the RBV that
Positional capabilities’ contribution to performance should be
Advantages investigated by disaggregating firm performance into
key processes that are less distal from the resources
A firm possesses a competitive advantage when it has (Ray, Barney, and Muhanna 2004).
certain resources and capabilities that are unique and
difficult to imitate and it can present an offer to the mar- Cavusgil and Zou (1994) point out that firms commit-
ket that provides more value to its customers than com- ted to exporting carefully plan entry tasks and allocate
peting offers (Barney 1991). Kaleka (2002) points out essential managerial and nonmanagerial resources to
that the positional advantages derived from exporting their export ventures. For example, firms committed to
constitute the position the firm achieves in relation to their export activity tend to offer strong support to their
the combination of cost, product, and service elements distribution partners in foreign markets, enhancing the
in a particular foreign market. As such, we define export exchange of information to overcome resource deploy-
positional advantage as managerial perceptions of the ment issues. In addition, firms committed to exporting
firm’s competitive strength (e.g., cost and product are likely to develop value-adding services (e.g., post-
advantages) relative to its competitors in export markets sales support, customer attention). These services tend
(Albaum et al. 2003). to be highly valued by customers in foreign markets,
influencing their degree of loyalty (Beamish, Craig, and
Studies have demonstrated that export commitment McLellan 1993). Export commitment serves to increase
exerts a positive effect on financial and operational per-

44 Journal of International Marketing

and configure information flows from the marketplace Our conceptualization of EMO emphasizes the ability
to reduce the uncertainty and risks related to exporting. It of a firm to learn about customers, competitors, and the
enables a firm to allocate resources correctly and rest of its stakeholders so that it can continuously sense
proactively to ongoing exporting activities (Styles and and act on events and trends in present and prospective
Ambler 2000) to achieve positional advantages over- markets (Day 1994). Moreover, EMO may even be
seas. In summary, export commitment enables a firm to viewed as a dynamic (outside-in) capability that allows
organize marketing strategy activities so that these can for the development of market-sensing processes for
be implemented, with less difficulty, to achieve advan- gathering, interpreting, and using foreign market infor-
tage in competitive export markets. These arguments mation in a more systematic, thoughtful, and anticipa-
give rise to the following: tory way than other firms can accomplish. Developing
this capability can assist a firm in discovering market
H1: Export commitment is positively related to opportunities and designing a value proposal. Such a
perceived positional advantages. value proposal affects the whole organization because
corporate resources must be aligned to create a market-
responsive firm (Cadogan and Diamantopoulos 1995).
Antecedents of Export Commitment Therefore, EMO encourages firms to be more willing to
commit resources to exporting to realize the identified
The literature reveals a range of internal and external market opportunities (Armario, Ruiz, and Armario
factors that underpin export firm strategic actions. For 2008). Thus, we hypothesize the following:
example, Lages and Montgomery (2004) combine inter-
nal and external perspectives to assert that export com- H2: EMO is positively related to export
mitment stems from satisfaction with prior export per-
formance, the intensity of export market competition,
and the level of export market development. That being
said, the literature has placed emphasis on controllable, Effect of Specific Export Capabilities on Export
internal drivers of export commitment. For example, Commitment. Specific export capabilities are essential
Kacker (1975) argues that export commitment is a func- to processing and interpreting information coming from
tion of top management philosophies and organiza- the foreign markets: They facilitate the strategic
tional goals, such that if management believes that management of export marketing (O’Cass and Julian
exporting is beneficial only to use up excess capacity, 2003). Zou and Stan (1998) point to specific managerial
the firm is expected to be less committed to exporting. capabilities as one of the key determinants of firms’
Cavusgil and Nevin (1981) and Reid (1983) both con- export success. These capabilities include (1) fluency in
tend that commitment may be a function of resource foreign languages and formal education in international
availabilit y. Building on this line of enquiry, we concep- business, because this helps management develop more
tualize a set of resources and capabilities that provide a effective practices for developing and processing infor-
significant explanation of export commitment. mation about the needs and preferences of foreign
consumers (Morgan, Kaleka, and Katsikeas 2004); (2)
Effect of EMO on Export Commitment . Although there permanent contacts with the foreign markets through
are similarities in the conceptual application of market regular visits and/or attendance at international fairs,
orientation to domestic and foreign markets, because of because this strengthens the firm’s exporting focus
problems of accessibility and quality of information, the (Bello and Gilliland 1997); and (3) knowledge of the
greater complexity of the export environment necessi- foreign markets’ idiosyncrasies (e.g., values, culture,
tates content adaptation (Cadogan et al. 2001; Van lifestyle), because this reduces uncertainty in decision
Raaij and Stoelhorst 2008). As such, and in line with making and favors the expansion of export activity
Cadogan, Diamantopoulos, and De Mortanges (1999), (Julien and Ramangalahy 2003). We posit that owning
we define EMO activities as (1) the generation of mar- specific export capabilities serves to reinforce manage-
ket intelligence pertinent to the firm’s exporting opera- rial attitudes and behaviors directed toward increasing
tions; (2) the dissemination of this information to the resources allocated to exporting. The firm is incen-
appropriate decision makers; and (3) the design and tivized to leverage specialized export capabilities
implementation of responses directed toward export through greater export organization because doing oth-
customers, export competitors, and other extraneous erwise would be wasteful. Thus, we hypothesize the
export market factors that affect the firm and its ability to following:
provide superior value to export customers.

Firms’ Export Commitment 45

H3: Specific export capabilities are positively This requires a greater level of resources committed to
related to export commitment. the export activity, as well as a greater propensity and
willingness to keep on committing them in the future.
Effects of Resources on Export Commitment. Prior Accordingly, we hypothesize the following:
research (e.g., Morgan, Kaleka, and Katsikeas 2004) has
indicated that the resources that potentially shape export H4: (a) Firm size, (b) export experience, (c) the
commitment are diverse. Here, we consider resources existence of an export department, and (d) the
that are derived from the firm’s size, associated with the existence of an information system for foreign
firm’s experience in foreign markets, derived from the markets are positively related to export
structure available for undertaking the export activity commitment.
(i.e., an export department), and linked to systematic
information collection about foreign markets. Marketing-Mix Adaptation and Perceived
Positional Advantages
Relationships between firm size and export behavior
have been extensively studied in the export marketing
literature, with contradictory results (Zou and Stan Similar to other firms, exporting firms’ overriding goal
1998). However, there is agreement that larger firms is operational survival through securing assets and
possess greater managerial and financial resources, have growing (Bradley 1984). The literature suggests that a
greater production capacity, attain superior economies firm’s capability to achieve and sustain positional
of scale, and face lower levels of perceived risk in advantages is closely linked to the efficient and effective
exporting operations (Bonaccorsi 1992; Brouthers et al. execution of a planned export marketing strategy
2009). Likewise, firm size influences the number of (Sousa, Martinez-Lopez, and Coelho 2008). Specifically,
employees and managers linked to exporting as well as when marketing-mix strategies are coaligned with
managerial attitudes toward allocating resources for export venture idiosyncrasies, positive outcomes can be
exporting (Katsikeas 1994). Export experience is indica- expected for the firm (Cavusgil and Zou 1994).
tive of the level of knowledge about foreign markets. Although the appropriateness of marketing-mix adapta-
Previous research has theorized that knowledge gained tion rests on antecedent conditions (e.g., within the
through experience from business operations in a spe- structure–conduct–performance paradigm), appropriate
cific overseas market generates opportunities and, con- adaptations across exporting operations may be
sequently, is a driving force in a firm’s internationaliza- unavoidable. For example, pricing adaptations can fol-
tion (Bodur 1994). Because export experience conveys a low differences in diverse factors such as marketing
foreign market knowledge base, it can reduce perceived objectives, competitive policies, inflation rates, and gov-
risks. Thus, an experienced firm should be more willing ernment policies (Theodosiou and Leonidou 2003).
to commit resources to exporting (Cavusgil and Zou Indeed, appropriate levels of adaptation may vary across
1994). marketing-mix components. That being said, Morgan,
Kaleka, and Katsikeas (2004), O’Cass and Julian (2003),
Furthermore, firms demonstrating high levels of export and several other authors argue that by developing a dif-
commitment are likely to have a separate organizational ferentiated marketing strategy tailored to the venture
setup, such as an export department to achieve their context, exporters can build superior value offerings in
export goals (Katsikeas 1994). The existence of a sepa- the sense that they meet local consumers’ needs more
rate export department facilitates the design of export closely. Therefore, we hypothesize the following:
marketing structures and tasks to deploy resources more
effectively (Jain 2002). It would act as a positive input H5: Marketing-mix adaptation is positively related
to managerial attitudes and behaviors toward export- to perceived positional advantages.
ing. Finally, decisions related to the commitment of
resources to foreign markets will depend on the firm’s Antecedents of Marketing-Mix
level of knowledge about opportunities and threats in Adaptation
those foreign markets (Cavusgil and Zou 1994). The
presence of a foreign market information collection sys-
tem helps reduce uncertainty in the development of Effect of EMO on Marketing-Mix Adaptation . Firms
export marketing and thus engenders the development of with a strong EMO will be more active in their search
a more proactive attitude in approaching exporting for, and better able to identify and take advantage of,
opportunities (Souchon and Diamantopoulos 1996). opportunities emerging in overseas markets than firms
lacking this capability. The generation of knowledge

46 Journal of International Marketing

about foreign markets can effectively reduce the levels of compete in export markets differently. Assuming that it
uncertainty and risk associated with export activity. is more difficult to adopt a market orientation in foreign
Knowledgeable firms should behave more proactively markets than in the home market because the environ-
and confidently in adapting to the desires and needs of ment is more complex and the information is less avail-
each national market (Racela, Chaikittisilpa, and able and accessible, we speculate that specific export
Thoumrungroje 2007). Specifically, firms that have rele- capabilities are necessary to facilitate the firm’s export
vant information about their foreign markets are likely market-oriented activities (Rose and Shoham 2002).
to be more willing to make adaptations to their prod- Therefore, we hypothesize the following:
ucts, prices, promotions, and so on, than other firms
that lack such information and make their decisions on H8: Specific export capabilities are positively
the basis of intuition (Cadogan and Diamantopoulos
related to EMO.
1995). Therefore, we hypothesize the following:
Effects of Resources on EMO. Behaving in a market-ori-
H6: EMO is positively related to marketing-mix ented way requires considerable resource investments,
adaptation. especially in the context of exporting (Cadogan, Diaman-
topoulos, and Siguaw 2002). As such, firm size may con-
Effect of Specific Export Capabilities on Marketing-Mix dition the ability of the firm to obtain, interpret, and use
Adaptation. Exporting firms recognize that the idiosyn- the information coming from foreign markets. For exam-
crasies of their foreign markets might force them to make ple, Armario, Ruiz, and Armario (2008) report that
some adaptations to marketing-mix strategies to fit the smaller exporters routinely fail to access potentially use-
characteristics of each market more closely and reduce ful export information sources. Likewise, Francis and
foreign consumers’ psychological distance (Leonidou, Collins-Dodd (2000) point out that the amount of
Katsikeas, and Samiee 2002). The aim is to achieve a human, financial, and management resources derived
proximity to foreign customers at least comparable to from firm size has a notable influence on export orienta-
traditional suppliers. To this end, it is pivotal that an tion. Researchers have also noted that as organizations
exporter knows its foreign markets well and accesses and become more experienced within their foreign markets,
processes up-to-date information about these, as well as their knowledge of and familiarity with export markets
about general international trends (Katsikeas, Piercy, and increase (Diamantopoulos, Schlegelmilch, and Tse 1993).
Ioannidis 1996). Thus, the firm should employ prag- Similarly, because knowledge is a function of experience,
matic procedures for collecting and appraising export in inexperienced firms, it is likely that key organizational
market information; its managers should remain in con- members may not be sufficiently knowledgeable about
tinuous contact with its foreign markets, have educa- the intricate details regarding export operations: If rele-
tional backgrounds pertaining to international business vant information is not recognized as such, it is unlikely
and foreign trade techniques, and be fluent in foreign to be passed along communication corridors (Cadogan
languages (Bello and Gilliland 1997; Styles and Ambler and Diamantopoulos 1995). Thus, experiential and infor-
1994). Therefore, we hypothesize the following: mational resources are essential antecedents of EMO.
Finally, the existence of a specific structure for exporting
H7: Specific export capabilities are positively (i.e., an export department) improves export coordina-
related to marketing-mix adaptation. tion within the firm and increases its degree of
orientation toward foreign markets (Cadogan et al. 2001).
Resources and Capabilities Therefore, we hypothesize the following:

H9: (a) Firm size, (b) export experience, (c) the

Effect of Specific Export Capabilities on EMO. Export existence of an export department, and (d) the
firms’ competitive strategies are planned patterns of existence of an information system for foreign
resource and capability deployment that support choices markets are positively related to EMO.
about how the firm will compete for target customers
and achieve desired goals (Cavusgil and Zou 1994). Bet- Effects of Resources on Specific Export Capabilities.
tis and Prahalad (1995) indicate that firms within the Resources also serve as inputs to specific export capabil-
same environment and with similar resources could take ities. In this context, the probability of developing train-
different decisions and compete in different ways ing programs in the export business and having man-
because of their different capabilities. We posit that agers and staff with capabilities required to develop
firms could capture, process, and use information to export market operations successfully will be greater in

Firms’ Export Commitment 47

larger than smaller firms (Gomez-Mejia 1988). Thus, Kaleka, and Katsikeas 2004). The data were collected
we expect larger firms to exhibit greater capabilities to through personal interviews with the export managers
develop exporting activities. Furthermore, because of 150 firms selected at random (sampling error:
knowledge is a function of experience (Johanson and ±7.65%). The majority of the sample firms were small
Vahlne 1977), experience is a primary source of organi- (68% with fewer than 50 employees) and allocated a
zational learning. Thus, export experience will help small number of employees to export-related tasks
define and shape specific managerial capabilities (81% with fewer than 5 export-related employees).
required for the successful development of exporting More than half (59%) had assigned export managers,
(Aaby and Slater 1989; Zou and Stan 1998). Prior
though a minority (33%) had an export department.
research (e.g., Donthu and Kim 1993) has also indicated
Most firms had a great amount of experience in their
that the existence of a specific structure to support
business (66% with more than 16 years in their sector),
exporting should contribute to the development of spe-
but firms with a great amount of experience in inter-
cific capabilities needed to be successful in export mar-
national business were a minority (59% with less than
kets. Finally, the availability of a system to collect infor-
10 years of exporting). Finally, the majority of sample
mation about foreign markets potentially abets
firms had a strong concentration of export sales in few
managerial capabilities because this provides manage-
markets (93% exported to five or fewer countries).
ment with a continuing flow of information about con-
sumers’ needs, expectations, and satisfaction levels
We selected a single key informant in each firm to com-
(Katsikeas, Piercy, and Ioannidis 1996). Accordingly, we
ment on its export activity. Use of a knowledgeable,
hypothesize the following:
single key informant can reduce the potential for sys-
tematic and random sources of error (Huber and Power
H10: (a) Firm size, (b) export experience, (c) the 1985). To ensure the reliability of the data source, we
existence of an export department, and (d) required the respondents to be senior managers with a
the existence of an information system for responsibility for exporting. A specific section of the
foreign markets are positively related to spe- questionnaire asked respondents for their job title and
cific export capabilities.
assessed their competency in terms of knowledge of,
involvement with, and responsibilities in exporting.
High scores on the competency questions indicated that
potential sources of measurement error attributable to
Data Collection the key informant were minimized.
We performed an empirical study of Spanish export
firms. The sample is representative of the population of Variable Measurement
exporters whose headquarters are in Spain. With regard
We used reflective and formative measurement perspec-
to the activity of Spanish export firms in general, data
tives to capture the study constructs. It is important that
from the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Commerce
research involving latent variables measured using dif-
(2008) reveal a strong concentration of export activity in
ferent manifest indicators define the type of relation-
a small number of firms (1% of the exporters gener- ate
ships established between variables and indicators. Con-
64% of total exports) and a strong geographic con-
ventional measurement practice in marketing and
centration in the foreign markets (70% of the exports
business research is based on reflective measurement,in
go to other European Union countries). The main sec-
which observed measures (i.e., indicators) are assumed
tors are capital goods (22%), automobiles (18%), and
to reflect variation in latent constructs. The direction of
food (14%). The bulk of Spanish exporters qualify as
causality runs from the construct to the indicators, and
small firms (84%) (De Lucio, Mínguez, and Á lvarez
thus we expect changes in the construct to be evident in
2007), and the majority have an export department
changes in all indicators constituting the scale (Edwards
(51%) and employees with education in international
and Bagozzi 2000).
trade (71%) (Alonso and Donoso 1998).
An alternative measurement approach uses formative
After we built and refined the export firm data, the total
indicators, which are assumed to cause variation in the
population consisted of 1734 firms. We used a multi-
construct. In other words, the indicators form or deter-
industry sample to increase observed variance and rein-
mine the construct, and the latter is modeled as a (typi-
force the generalizability of the findings (Morgan,
cally linear) combination of its indicators plus a distur-

48 Journal of International Marketing

bance term (Bollen 1989). Although several studies tured the resources considered through single items:
devoted to formative measurement exist (e.g., Diaman- firm size, in terms of number of employees (Bonaccorsi
topoulos and Siguaw 2006; MacKenzie, Podsakoff, and 1992); the firm’s export experience, measured by num-
Jarvis 2005), the properties, advantages, and limitations ber of years exporting; the existence of a structure
of formative measures still seem misunderstood. Indeed, specifically dedicated to the export activity in the firm,
theorists (e.g., Jarvis, MacKenzie, and Podsakoff 2003; namely, the export department (Jain 2002); and the
Podsakoff, Shen, and Podsakoff 2006) assert that meas- availability of a system for collecting information about
urement models in prior studies often are misspecified
foreign markets (Styles and Ambler 1994). The Appen-
(i.e., they assume a reflective structure when a formative
dix discloses our measures.
approach should have been adopted), probably because of
researchers’ lack of familiarity with formative meas- ures
(Diamantopoulos 2008). Data Analysis
After building the different scales and obtaining the cor-
Using a formative approach is particularly attractive
responding information, next we analyzed the data. We
when building measures for highly complex constructs,
tested the hypotheses using partial least squares (PLS)
of which the current study has several. We based the
because of the characteristicsof the model and sample.1
measurement perspectives developed for our multi-item
Because PLS models are analyzed and interpreted in two
measures on MacKenzie, Podsakoff, and Jarvis’s (2005)
stages (Barclay, Higgins, and Thompson 1995), we eval-
recommendations for distinguishing formative and
uated the measurement model first and then the struc-
reflective variables. We captured perceived positional
tural model. This sequence ensured that the measures of
advantages, marketing-mix adaptation, and specific
the constructs were valid and reliable before we
export capabilities as first-order formative constructs.
attempted to draw conclusions about the relationships
For these, each item is related to a specific aspect of the
among the constructs.
measured construct, so they are not interchangeable
(e.g., competitive advantage in costs does not necessarily
Because of the characteristics of the conceptual model
confer advantage in distribution). We treated EMO as a
being analyzed, several considerations should be noted.
second-order formative construct (Cadogan, Kuiva-
When analyzing the second-order constructs, it should
lainen, and Sundqvist 2009; Cadogan, Souchon, and
be remembered that this work considers molar or
Procter 2008), with three reflective dimensions (i.e.,
molecular models rather than multiple regression mod-
export intelligence generation, export intelligence dis-
els (Chin and Gopal 1995). The difference between a
semination, and export market responsiveness). We
molecular and a molar model is that the former shows
considered export commitment a second-order reflec-
each first-order construct as a separate dimension, and
tive construct with two reflective dimensions (i.e., cur-
the set of such constructs together represents the second-
rent export commitment and anticipated export
order construct, whereas the latter does not take into
account the interdependencies between the variables,
with the first-order constructs acting as formative fac-
We captured current export commitment and antici-
tors or variables (Chin and Gopal 1995). The latter case
pated export commitment on four- and three-item
corresponds to the proposed model. However, building
scales, respectively, modified from prior scales and
a second-order structural model also requires a two-step
theory (Cavusgil and Zou 1994; Donthu and Kim
process. The first step involves estimating the model
1993). We measured perceived positional advantages in
with the indicators of the first-order factors, and the
foreign markets on a six-item scale based on Albaum
second involves adding all these previous indicators as
and colleagues’ (2003) work. We captured marketing-
indicators of the second-order factor (construct) as well.
mix adaptation using four items that tap adaptation to
This method is known as the “hierarchical component
product, price, distribution, and promotion strategies
model” (Wold 1979).
(Theodosiou and Leonidou 2003). We measured each
dimension of EMO using three-item scales based on
For the constructs with reflective measures, researchers
Cadogan, Diamantopoulos, and De Mortanges’s (1999)
may examine the loadings to refine the scales. Item reli-
work. We assessed specific export capabilities using
ability is considered adequate when the loading on its
three indicators modified from Julien and Ramangalahy
respective construct is greater than .70 (Carmines and
(2003), Leonidou, Katsikeas, and Piercy (1998), and
Zeller 1979). Still, researchers have argued against the
Morgan, Kaleka, and Katsikeas (2004). Finally, we cap-
rigid enforcement of this rule of thumb (Barclay, Hig-

Firms’ Export Commitment 49

gins, and Thompson 1995; Chin 1998). Thus, we left should be less than 5 to be able to retain a construct for
reflective items that did not meet the threshold in the the model (Diamantopoulos and Winklhofer 2001). For
model only if the rest of the reliability criteria (e.g., com- the current study, no variable exceeded 5 in the VIF,
posite reliability) were fulfilled. In particular, the load- either in the first step of the second-order model or in
ings (.89 and .81 for current and anticipated export the definitive second-order model.
commitment, respectively) support the second-order
export commitment structure. We assessed composite Advantages in promotion (weight = .54), costs (weight =
reliability using Nunnally ’s (1978) benchmark of .80 for .37), and human resources (weight = .33) were the form-
basic research. Our reflective scales met this standard. ative dimensions that contributed most to perceived
The average variance extracted (AVE) values exceeded positional advantages, and strategic decisions about
the minimum value of .50 that Fornell and Larcker
adapting promotion (weight = .72) and price (weight =
(1981) recommend, supporting the convergent validity
.44) were the dimensions that contributed most to
of the reflective constructs.
marketing-mix adaptation. In the formation of EMO
activities, the main contributors were the dimensions
Finally, to assess the reflective constructs’ discriminant
export intelligence generation (weight = .62) and export
validit y, we checked that the AVE did not exceed the
market responsiveness (weight = .50). Likewise, the con-
variance shared with any other construct in the model
struct specific export capabilities was well explained by
(i.e., the squared correlation between the two con-
its formative indicators. Table 2 summarizes our meas-
structs) (Barclay, Higgins, and Thompson 1995). The
ure validation results.
reflective constructs met this condition (see the correla-
tion matrix in Table 1). Furthermore, that construct
With the validity of the model confirmed, we next tested
intercorrelations were significantly different than 1 for
the stability of the structural model estimates (see Table
all the study variables provides additional evidence of
3). We used a bootstrap approach (1000 subsamples) to
discriminant validity.
generate standard errors and statistics. We determined
support for our hypotheses by examining the sign and
To validate our formative measures, we followed recom-
significance of the t-values for each corresponding path.
mendations in the formative measurement literature
(Diamantopoulos, Riefler, and Roth 2008). To fully cap-
ture the meaning of a formative construct, a census of The results show that export commitment was posi-
tively linked ( = .27, p < .01) to the achievement of
indicators is required because omitting an indicator is
positional advantages in foreign markets, in support of
omitting a part of the construct (Bollen and Lennox
H1. The results reveal three drivers of export commit-
1991). Therefore, we took the view that omitting indi-
ment, accounting for an explained variance for this
cators is equivalent to curbing the domain of the con-
dependent variable of 47.4%. Specifically, EMO ( =
struct (MacKenzie, Podsakoff, and Jarvis 2005). More-
over, a major concern in estimating formative constructs .36, p < .01, in support of H2), specific export capabili-
is multicollinearit y. Variance inflation factors (VIF) ties ( = .25, p < .01, in support of H3), and export
experience ( = .13, p < .05, in support of H4b) had a

Table 1. CorrelationsBetween Constructs

1 2 3 4 5

1. Export commitment .85

2. Perceived positional advantages .42 N.A.
3. Marketing-mix adaptation .31 .55 N.A.
4. EMO .60 .42 .43 N.A.
5. Specific export capabilities .58 .36 .32 .62 N.A.

Notes: The bold number on the diagonal is the square root of the AVE; off-diagonal elements are correlations among constructs. N.A. = not applicable.

50 Journal of International Marketing

Table 2. M easurem ent
M odelR esults

CONSTRUCT /Dimension/Indicator VIF Weight Loading ( c) AVE
EXPORT COMMITMENT(second-orderreflective construct) .84 .73

Current Export Commitment (first-order reflective construct) .89 .85 .58

COMM 1 .75
COMM 2 .72
COMM 3 .84
COMM 4 .73
Anticipated Export Commitment (first-order reflective construct) .81 .95 .85
COMM 5 .92
COMM 6 .93
COMM 7 .92

PERCEIVED POSITIONAL ADVANTAGES (first-orderformativeconstruct) N.A. N.A.

ADV1 1.17 .03

ADV2 1.54 .17
ADV3 1.89 –.23
ADV4 1.99 .54
ADV5 2.19 .33
ADV6 1.70 .37

MARKETING-MIX ADAP TATION (first-orderformative construct) N.A. N.A.

PROD 2.42 .04

PRIC 2.02 .44
DIST 2.31 –.05
PROM 1.65 .72

EMO (second-orderformativeconstruct) N.A. N.A.

Export Intelligence Generation (first-order reflective 1.46 .62 .92 .80
GEN1 .77
GEN2 .94
GEN3 .94
Export Intelligence Dissemination (first-order reflective 1.41 .10 .92 .78
DIS1 .85
DIS2 .52
DIS3 .74

Firms’ Export Commitment 51

Table 2. Continued

Export Market Responsiveness (first-order reflective construct) 1.28 .50 .93 .82
RESP1 .91
RESP2 .81
RESP3 .60


Size 1 1 1 1
Export experience 1 1 1 1
Export department 1 1 1 1
Information system 1 1 1 1

SPECIFIC EXPORT CAPABILITIES (formative construct) N.A. N.A.

CAP1 1.73 .50

CAP2 1.84 .51
CAP3 1.82 .22

Notes: N.A. = not applicable.

positive influence on export commitment. In contrast, support of H9d. The other three resources—firm size
the bulk of the resources—that is, firm size ( = –.01, p ( = –.04, p > .05), export experience ( = –.02, p > .05),
> .05), export department ( = .13, p > .05), and infor- and export department ( = .08, p > .05)—had no role
mation system ( = .01, p > .05)—were not determinants in driving EMO, failing to support H9a, H9b, and H9c.
of export commitment. Thus, H4a, H 4c, and H4d cannot
be accepted. Marketing-mix adaptation linked strongly The formative measures and resource antecedents together
to positional advantages ( = .47, p < .01), which con- explained 46.5% of the variance in specific export capa-
firms H5. Taken together, the formative measures, bilities. The resources that linked significantly to this con-
export commitment, and marketing-mix adaptation struct were the firm’s export experience ( = .16, p < .01)
explained 39.2% of the variance in perceived positional and information system ( = .58, p < .01), in support of
advantages. H10b and H10d. However, neither firm size ( = –.01, p >
.05) nor the existence of an export department ( = .06,
The formative measures and structural relationships p > .05) shaped managerial capabilities required in export-
accounted for 19.2% of the variance in marketing-mix ing activity. Therefore, H10a and H10c cannot be accepted.
adaptation. The results show that EMO was positively
associated ( = .36, p < .01) with marketing-mix adap- Our structural model results imply mediation roles of
tation, confirming H6. However, contrary to H7, specific export commitment and marketing-mix adaptation in
export capabilities were not linked to marketing-mix linking export experience, specific export capabilities,
adaptation ( = .10, p > .05). and/or EMO to perceived positional advantages.
Nonetheless, in line with Zhao, Lynch, and Chen
The explained variance for EMO was 44.9%. In addi- (2010), we reran the analysis to obtain Baron and
tion to the formative dimensions, two elements were Kenny’s coefficients “a” (for independent variable–
revealed as key antecedents of EMO. First, specific mediator paths), “b” (for mediator–dependent variable
export capabilities influenced EMO activities ( = .39, p paths), and “c” (for independent variable–dependent
< .01), confirming H8. Second, the resource related to variable paths). The Sobel z-test, applied to our boot-
organized foreign market research (i.e., an information strap output, confirmed that there is indirect-only medi-
system) linked positively ( = .32, p < .01) to EMO, in ation (i.e., significant a ⋅ b, together with nonsignificant

52 Journal of International Marketing

Table 3. StructuralM odelResults

Path t-Value
Hypothesis Coefficient () (Bootstrap) Support
H1: Export commitment  positional advantages .27 3.25* * Ye s
H2: EMO  export commitment .36 3.79* * Ye s
H3: Specific export capabilities export commitment .25 2.37* * Ye s
H4a: Firm size export commitment –.01 .13n.s. No
H4b: Export experience  export commitment .13 2.06* Yes
H4c: Export department  export commitment .13 1.59n.s. No
H4d: Information system  export commitment .01 .11n.s. No
H5: Marketing-mix adaptation  positional advantages .47 6.46* * Ye s
H6: EMO  marketing-mix adaptation .36 3.20* * Ye s
H7: Specific export capabilities marketing-mix adaptation .10 .79n.s. No
H8: Specific export capabilities EMO .39 3.65* * Ye s
H9a: Firm size EMO –.04 .43n.s. No
H9b: Export experience  EMO –.02 .29n.s. No
H9c: Export department  EMO .08 1.22n.s. No
H9d: Information system  EMO .32 3.16* * Ye s
H10a: Firm size specific export capabilities –.01 .23n.s. No
H10b: Export experience  specific export capabilities .16 3.00* * Yes
H10c: Export department  specific export capabilities .06 1.02n.s. No
H10d: Information system  specific export capabilities .58 8.89* * Yes

*p < .05.
**p < .01.
Notes: Items marked with superscript n.s. are not significant (based on t(999), one-tailed test).

c effects, at p < .05) of export commitment in the rela- gerial and nonmanagerial resources to their ventures.
tionships of export experience, specific export capabili- We extend prior research on the role of export commit-
ties, and EMO with positional advantage and of ment as an organizing structure (e.g., Beamish et al.
marketing-mix adaptation in the link between EMO 1999; Cavusgil and Zou 1994) by revealing mediating
and positional advantages. mechanisms through which export commitment con-
nects resources and capabilities to positional advan-
tages. As such, export commitment enables firms to
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS effectively implement resource-led strategy.

This study makes several contributions to existing In particular, significant recent research has focused on
theory on export marketing strategy management. the relationship between EMO and performance. Stud-
First, although the exporting literature has consis- ies (e.g., Cadogan, Diamantopoulos, and Siguaw 2002)
tently emphasized the criticality of marketing-mix have shown that firms that are market oriented can rec-
strategy–performance relationships (Sousa, Martinez- ognize and respond to global opportunities more effec-
Lopez, and Coelho 2008), far less is known about tively in today’s competitive environment. We add to the
strategy implementation–related outcomes. The study is emerging understanding of EMO by revealing that
novel in theorizing that managers committed to export- market-sensing capabilities may be leveraged produc-
ing carefully plan the entry and allocate sufficient mana- tively through export commitment.

Firms’ Export Commitment 53

Second, prior work (e.g., Lages, Jap, and Griffith 2008) Specific implications can be drawn from the study. First,
has found that export commitment increases the likeli- managers should note that export commitment is funda-
hood of success in foreign markets, but our study mental to the success of exporting strategic action: This
assumes a direct link to performance outcomes. To the strategic factor plays a central organizing role in the
best of our knowledge, ours is the first study to test the implementation of resource-based strategy. Export com-
RBV logic that export commitment is directly linked to mitment mediates the relationships between multiple
positional advantage in export markets. Furthermore, resources and capabilities and perceived positional
our RBV framing provides a comprehensive explanation advantages in foreign markets and thus is deserving of
of drivers of export commitment. We show that experi- managerial attention (e.g., alongside marketing-mix
ential resources, specific capabilities in the development adaptation). In this context, export experience posi-
of export activity (e.g., skills in languages, training in tively affects the human, financial, and management
export operations, permanent contact with foreign cus- resources that the firm’s management is ready to dedi-
tomers and distributors), and EMO are essential cate to its export activity; no such effect exists for the
antecedents of export commitment. firm’s size and whether it has an export department and
information system germane to foreign markets. Like-
Third, the international marketing literature reveals that wise, export commitment increases with the develop-
resources are complementary inputs of capabilities Yal-( ment of specific export capabilities and EMO or market-
cinkaya, Calantone, and Griffith 2007) and that both sensing activities. In summary, various knowledge
are indirect determinants of positional advantages in resources and processes of the firm require export com-
mitment to translate into managers’ perceptions of
foreign markets (Morgan, Kaleka, and Katsikeas 2004).
higher positional advantages in foreign markets.
Our study adds precise new insights to this literature
stream: that firms with greater export experience and
Second, the firm can satisfy the needs and desires of for-
better information systems with respect to foreign
eign consumers more effectively than its competitors if it
operations can deploy exporting capabilities more effec-
adapts elements of its marketing mix. To this end, we
tively (e.g., through export commitment).
reveal that EMO is the sole driver of marketing-mix
adaptation, which mediates the pathway between EMO
Fourth, we juxtapose the general commitment (e.g., Kim
and positional advantage. Again, it is important that
and Frazier 1997) and export commitment (e.g., Lages
managers place emphasis on obtaining relevant infor-
and Montgomery 2004) literature streams to develop a
mation about the market and enhancing speed of
multidimensional conceptualization of export commit-
response to changes in the environment. Both acquiring
ment that takes into account current and anticipated
and disseminating relevant market information encour-
commitment levels. The study results nomologically
age the firm to behave more proactively in adapting to
validate our unorthodox position that export commit-
the desires and needs of each export market (Armario,
ment is a manifest behavior and a favorable disposition to
Ruiz, and Armario 2008).
facilitate the development of exporting as an ongoing
course of action (Stump, Athaide, and Axinn 1999).
Third, firms should use their selection and training pro-
grams to ensure that export managers have strong skills
This study also informs exporting research by emphasizing
in foreign languages and foreign trade techniques, as
methodological features pertaining to formative measure
well as a good knowledge of the idiosyncrasies of for-
development. We overcome one of the weaknesses that
eign markets. Such specific export capabilities exert
Diamantopoulos’s (e.g., 2008) body of work observes:
their positive effect on marketing strategy actions indi-
that research in the export marketing area is characterized
rectly through EMO activities. Information system
by the implicit or explicit use of reflective indicators. Few
resources conducive to foreign market research likewise
exporting studies use formative indicators, despite their
serve as input to EMO. Finally, we find that specific
superiority for capturing certain complex variables. Our
export capabilities are a function of experiential and
study is novel in analyzing firms’ export processes using
informational resources. Taken together, our results sug-
formative and reflective constructs.
gest that managers should develop and harness experi-
ence and information system resources, rather than firm
Implications for Management size and export department resources, in exploiting
strategic resources–strategic actions–competitive advan-
Managers can use our findings to systematize decisions
tage linkages.
and actions associated with their firms’ export activity.

54 Journal of International Marketing

Limitations and Future Research empirical studies in the export activity field involve
Directions This study makes novel contributions to single-country samples (Leonidou, Katsikeas, and
the export mar- keting literature but suffers from Samiee 2002), further research using multicountry sam-
limitations that should constitute the starting point for ples would reinforce the generalizability of our findings.
further research. First, because the data on the study
constructs were self- reported from a single Fourth, this study evaluates the adaptation of the mar-
questionnaire, the possibility of common method keting strategy to foreign markets by globally consider-
ing price, distribution, promotion, and product ele-
variance exists. Following Huber and Power’s (1985)
ments. It could be advantageous theoretically and
and Podsakoff and colleagues’ (2003) advice and
pragmatically to analyze the degree of adaptation of
bearing in mind that the data could not be obtained
each of the marketing-mix elements separately (Lages,
from different sources without great difficulty, we
Jap, and Griffith 2008). The fifth limitation is that our
employed various procedural remedies related to
model does not consider many other (e.g., external)
questionnaire design (e.g., protecting respondent antecedents of the dependent variables, such as charac-
anonymity, varying scale anchors). Furthermore, we teristics of the product being exported (Shoham 1999),
assessed the possibility of common influence across all level of competition in and development of export mar-
responses using Harman’s one-factor test (Podsakoff kets (Lages and Montgomery 2004), type of relationship
and Organ 1986). Using a factor analysis, we identified between the export firm and its foreign distributors
no single factor that explained variance across the items. (Racela, Chaikittisilpa, and Thoumrungroje 2007), and
Of the six factors that emerged (export commitment, so on. These additional antecedents might have
marketing-mix adaptation, perceived positional advan- improved the variance explained in the dependent
tages, EMO, specific export capabilities, and resources), variables.
the main factor explained only 36% of the variance.
That no factor explained 50% or more of the variance Finally, a more complete view of the firm’s strategic
indicates that methods bias is unlikely (Podsakoff and actions would require an analysis of other marketing
Organ 1986). That being said, we cannot rule out com- organization characteristics (e.g., pertaining to struc-
mon method bias completely. tural and task characteristics; Vorhies and Morgan
2003) that may shape export strategy implementation
The second limitation involves the study’s cross- and other strategic choices (e.g., positioning and market
sectional nature. The data collected refer to a specific selection strategies) that may affect positional advan-
moment in time, and it would be useful to carry out a tages in export markets (Leonidou, Katsikeas, and
longitudinal study to analyze how strategic modifica- Samiee 2002). Further research could determine
tions to the firm and changes in its business profile whether export marketing organization fit with export
affect its current and future export commitments. A marketing strategy delivers superior performance
third limitation involves the sample used, which comes outcomes.
from a single country (Spain). Although the majority of

. M easu res

Export Commitment

The following blocks of questions aim to determine your firm’s commitment to export activity. Please answer on a scale of 1–7
(1 = “very low,” and 7 = “very high”).
Current Export Commitment
COMM 1 The level of time and effort our firm’s management currently commits to export activity is ...
COMM 2 The level of financial resources currently committed to export activity is ...
COMM 3 The level of human resources currently committed to export activity is ...
COMM 4 Compared to the Spanish market, the resources currently committed to export activity are ...

Firms’ Export Commitment 55

. Continued

Anticipated Export Commitment

COMM 5 The level of time and effort that the management will be willing to commit to export activity is ...
COMM 6 The level of financial resources that the management will be willing to commit to export activity is ...
COMM 7 The level of human resources that the management will be willing to commit to export activity is ...

Indicate generally your firm’s competitive position compared to its main rivals in its foreign markets with respect to the follow-
ing concepts, using a scale of 1–7 (1 = “much worse,” and 7 = “much better”).
ADV1 Product differentiation
ADV2 Price
ADV3 Distribution
ADV4 Promotion or communication
ADV5 Human resources
ADV6 Costs

Marketing-Mix Adaptation
The following block of questions aims to find out the extent to which your firm adapts the four marketing-mix variables in its
foreign markets compared to its home market. Please answer on a scale of 1–7 (1 = “not at all,” and 7 = “substantially”).
PROD Product
PRIC Price
DIST Distribution
PROM Promotion or communication


The following blocks of questions aim to evaluate your firm’s level of export market orientation, using a scale of 1–7 (1 =
“totally disagree,” and 7 = “totally agree”).
Export Intelligence Generation
GEN1 In our firm, we systematically collect information about our foreign markets (needs, desires, level of satisfaction
with our products, etc.).
GEN2 In our firm, we systematically collect information about our rivals’ actions in our foreign markets (price policy,
product, market segments targeted, etc.).
GEN3 In our firm, we systematically collect information about any changes in our export environment (technologies,
regulations, economic aspects, etc.).
Export Intelligence Dissemination
DIS1 In our firm, there is a fluid communication between the different departments/employeesabout any changes occur-
ring in our export markets (customers, competitors, environment).
DIS2 In our firm, we have regular meetings to discuss the trends and developments in our export markets.
DIS3 In our firm there is a strong collaboration between staff involved in the export activity and the other departments
(R&D, finance, accounting, etc.).
Export Market Responsiveness
RESP1 Our firm tends to respond quickly to changes detected with respect to our foreign customers.

56 Journal of International Marketing

. Continued

RESP2 Our firm tends to respond quickly to changes detected with respect to our foreign rivals’ actions.
RESP3 Our firm tends to respond quickly to changes detected in our export environment.


The following block of questions aims to evaluate managerial capabilities related to export activity, using a scale of 1–7 (1 =
“totally disagree,” and 7 = “totally agree”).
CAP1 Our managers dedicated to exports have strong knowledge of: foreign languages, foreign trade techniques, etc.
CAP2 Our managers with responsibility for exports visit our foreign markets regularly and/or participate regularly in
international trade fairs.
CAP3 Our export managers have a strong knowledge of the values, culture, and customs prevalent in our foreign

R esources
Firm size Total number of employees in the firm
Export experience Number of years’ exporting
Export department Firm has export department (yes/no)
Information system Our firm has a system to collect information allowing us to investigate and assess foreign markets (1
“totally disagree,” and 7 = “totally agree”).

NOTE Modeling: Personal Computer Adoption and Use as an Illus-

tration, ” Technology Studies, 2 (2), 285–309.

1. For the empirical study, we used the statistics package Barney, Jay (1991), “Firm Resources and Sustained Competitive
PLS-Graph (Chin and Frye 2003). Advantage,” Journal of Management, 17 (1), 99–120.
Beamish, Paul W., Ron Craig, and Kerry McLellan (1993), “The
Performance Characteristics of Canadian Versus U.K.
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60 Journal of International Marketing

THE AUTHORS social and structural relationship governance and main-
tenance mechanisms.His research has been published in
Antonio Navarro is Associate Professor of Marketing British Journal of Management, Journal of International
and Market Research at the Business Management Fac- Marketing, Journal of World Business, Industrial Mar-
ulty at the University of Sevilla (Spain). He holds a doc- keting Management, International Marketing Review,
torate in business administration from the University of Management International Review, Organization Sci-
Sevilla. His research interests include international mar- ence, and others. He is also an associate editor for mar-
keting strategy, franchising, and retailing. He has pub- keting at British Journal of Management.
lished in Journal of World Business, International
Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, Inter- Emilio Ruzo is Associate Professor of Marketing and
national Review of Retail Distribution and Consumer Market Research at the Business Management Faculty
Research, Management Research Review, and other of Lugo at the University of Santiago de Compostela
journals. (Spain). He holds a doctorate in business administration
from the University of Santiago de Compostela. His
Francisco J. Acedo is Associate Professor of Strategic research interests include competitive market analysis,
Management at the University of Sevilla (Spain). He international marketing strategy, brand equity, con-
holds a doctorate in business administration from the sumer behavior, entrepreneurship, and family business.
University of Sevilla. His research interest focuses His research has been published in Internationa l Journal
mainly on the internationalization process of small and of Market Research, Journal of World Business, Journal
medium-sized enterprises and the role of time in the of International Marketing, Management Research
international growth of firms. He has published in Review, and other journals.
Strategic Management Journal, Journal of Management
Studies, Journal of World Business, International Busi- Fernando Losada is Associate Professor of Marketing
ness Review, and other journals. He is also Honorary and Market Research at the Business Management
Research Fellow at the Centre for Internationalisation Faculty of Lugo at the University of Santiago de Com-
and Enterprise Research at the University of Glasgow. postela (Spain). He holds a doctorate in business admin-
istration from the University of Santiago de Com-
Matthew J. Robson is Professor of Marketing at Leeds postela. His research interests include international
University Business School at the University of Leeds. marketing strategy, competitive market analysis, con-
He earned a doctoral degree at Cardiff University, where sumer behavior, entrepreneurship, and family business.
he served as a member of faculty before moving to the His research has been published in International Journal
University of Leeds. His research interests focus on of Market Research, Journal of World Business, Journal
cross-border interfirm collaborative strategies, distribu- of International Marketing, Management Research
tion channel relationships, exporting strategies, and Review, and other journals.

Firms’ Export Commitment 61

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