Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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An Exploratory Study Into the Export Behaviour of Vietnamese Small and Medium Enterprises

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posted on 2021-11-13, 11:53 authored by Phan, Anh Thi Hong

With the fast growth of information, technology and communication, the number of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) engaged in exporting activities has increased rapidly. However, the number of research studies on Vietnamese SMEs is quite limited. In order to fill this gap, this study focuses on exploring exporting behaviours of Vietnamese SMEs. Specifically, this study will address three questions related to export motivations, export barriers and firms' performance. This study provides three main contributions. The first contribution is to add to the existing literature regarding exporting study based on Vietnamese context. The second contribution is to provide selected background data involving exporting activities in Vietnam at the current time. The third contribution is to suggest some recommendations for Vietnamese managers, government and associations to help Vietnamese SMEs to develop their exporting activities and improve their firms' performance. In this study, a literature review on export motivations, export barriers, and firms' performance is provided.  In order to answer these questions, fourteen in-depth interviews of Vietnamese exporting SMEs and eight in-depth interviews of Vietnamese non-exporting SMEs are conducted. Based on interview data, some key findings are identified. In terms of export motivations, exporting SMEs mentioned 22 reasons why they go overseas whereas non-exporters listed 5 reasons. Exporting SMEs' motivations are influenced by both internal and external stimuli. Compared to exporting firms, non-exporting counterparts pay more attention to the influence of internal factors in decision-making. Non-exporters' stimuli are more proactive in nature than exporters' stimuli. When examining Vietnamese export motivations, the researcher may need to take into account the influence of firm's operating sectors and the percentage of export activities. In terms of export barriers, to develop exporting activities, SMEs exporters identified 18 barriers whereas non-exporters suggested eight difficulties to start their exporting activities. The lack of resources to start or maintain exporting activities is the most mentioned barriers whereas the least mentioned barriers are those related to the environmental area. Exporting experience may be applied to provide a better understanding about the level impacts of different export barriers and the number of export barriers. In terms of firms' performance, both exporters and non-exporters proposed to use economic indicators to measure their firms' performance. There are 19 factors and 11 factors that can be used to explain exporters and non-exporters' performance, respectively. In order to understand Vietnamese SMEs' performance, the combination of the resource-based view and institution-based view need to be applied. This study also suggests some recommendations and implications for future research as well as Vietnamese firms' managers, government and associations to improve SMEs' performance and enhance their exporting activities.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

International Business

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Commerce and Administration

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Marketing and International Business


Crick, David