Ready to export? The role of export readiness for superior export performance of small and medium-sized enterprises

Stephan Gerschewski*, Joanna Scott-Kennel, Elizabeth L. Rose

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Drawing on the entrepreneurship perspective and the network-based view on internationalisation, this exploratory study contributes to our understanding of why some exporters succeed while others do not, through an empirical examination of export readiness factors. The paper provides an operationalisation of export readiness for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Based on a sample of 96 New Zealand SMEs, we find that export readiness is a complex construct involving finance, trade and exchange, and marketing. The study provides evidence that internal export stimuli are important antecedents of export readiness, while factors traditionally assumed to be critical to export success, such as importing and pre-export domestic expansion, may not be prerequisites to being export-ready. Finally, the study examines the link between export readiness and subsequent, initial export performance and finds a strong, positive relationship. Our study contributes to the export literature by providing a deeper and more integrated understanding of the antecedents of export readiness in a small, open economy, and its implications for subsequent export performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1253-1276
Number of pages24
JournalWorld Economy
Issue number5
Early online date25 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 11 May 2020


  • export performance
  • export planning
  • export readiness
  • inward internationalisation
  • pre-export behaviour
  • small and medium-sized enterprise

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Political Science and International Relations


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