Simone Novello, Jorge Lengler, Pilar Murias Fernandez

Customer Orientation and Sme export performance: Insights from Italian manufacturing firms

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: export performance; customer orientation; resource-based view; Italian Smes.

The purpose of this study is to advance knowledge of export literature on Italian Smes. Given the striking changes that the process of globalization has brought to international markets, scholarly research has highlighted that Italian Smes should adopt a customer orientation strategy in order to increase their competitiveness. To date, very few studies have tested whether those strategies viewed as success factors are actually beneficial for the Italian Smes. A sample of senior managers of small and medium-sized exporting firms in Italy is used to test the hypotheses. Whilst confirming that customer orientation has a direct impact on strategic performance, we show that customer orientation has a negative effect on firms' financial performance. Our study shows that technology intensity of products does not have a significant impact on financial performance, but this link is mediated by strategic performance. Finally, our results confirm that experienced managers of Smes consider customer orientation a central element of their firm's export strategy. Implications of these findings along with the limitations of the study are discussed.

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