Export performance of Ghanaian firms in the agricultural, handicraft and manufacturing industries
Studies involving the export performance of firms in emerging economies, particularly in Sub-Saharan African countries, are underrepresented in the existing literature which takes a typically developed country perspective. The objective of this study is to investigate how the interplay between certain internal resources and capabilities and their interaction with the external environment contribute to export performance of internationalising firms in the agricultural, handicraft and manufacturing industries in Ghana. The study contributes specifically to the export performance literature that has featured in international business, international entrepreneurship and international marketing. This research employed the resource-based view as the underpinning theory to examine the internal and external characteristics of the firm to identify what determines export success for firms in these industries. The study applied a mixed method approach using quantitative and qualitative techniques. The data for this study consists of 116 questionnaire survey and 18 semi-structured interviews conducted with key informants in the three industries in Ghana. Quantitative data analysis applied PLS-SEM and content analysis was undertaken to develop interview themes for the qualitative study. The study found that product and place (distribution) were the most adapted export marketing mix strategies (out of the 4Ps that are a fundamental aspect of the marketing literature) for the firms, with promotion and price highlighted as the least adapted strategies. The relationship between international experience, export commitment, export marketing mix strategy (4Ps), and export performance were supported across the models. Export commitment, place, product and foreign market attractiveness emerged as strong antecedents of export performance in the study. Drawing from resource based view of the firm, the study makes three key contribution to the export performance literature. First, it explains how exports market mix strategy transforms the impact of international experience, export commitment and export promotion programs on export performance. Secondly, it establishes moderating effects of foreign market attractiveness on the association between export marketing mix strategy and export performance. Lastly, the study provides enhanced understanding of key determinants of export performance for exporting firms in Ghana. This research responds to the call for advancing theory in Africa. The study further provides recommendations for public policy makers and managers to improve their export development programmes in Ghana and Sub-Saharan Africa.