Export development indicators as potential segmentation tools : A quantitative study of Swedish SMEs in the tech field
Abstract: The “stage model” is a criticized but well-used segmentation method for categorizing firms into different export development stages based on their perceived export barriers. However increasing presence of born global firms and lagging exports, particularly in the Swedish tech industry, require an updated segmentation tool. Export intensity, export experience and psychic distance to foreign customers are identified as alternative indicators of a firm’s perceived export barriers. The extent to which these variables can predict perceived export barriers of firms is tested. Collected data from 30 Swedish SMEs consisting of both born globals and traditional exporters within the tech field suggest that none of the three variables is a sufficient indicator of perceived export barriers on its own. Instead, each variable explains different export barriers to different degrees. The results indicate that each SME chooses its unique path of export development, making it difficult to establish a standardized stage model for modern SMEs.
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