Original Research

The internationalisation of SMEs in South Africa: export capacity, capability and commitment

Zuko April, Colin Reddy
Journal of Economic and Financial Sciences | Vol 8, No 2 | a109 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jef.v8i2.109 | © 2019 Zuko April, Colin Reddy | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 December 2017 | Published: 30 July 2015

About the author(s)

Zuko April, Department of Business Management, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Colin Reddy, Department of Business Management, University of Johannesburg, South Africa

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Abstract

The difficulties of exporting require immense commitment on the part of owner-managers of SMEs. This article sought to investigate how the commitment of owner-managers to the export market influences the export capacity of SMEs in a developing country context such as South Africa. It found that export commitment influences export capacity indirectly by means of the SME’s export capabilities and confirms the importance of an experiential learning process in the case of SME exporters within developing countries. The article emphasises the importance of the SME owner-manager’s commitment to set upon the often difficult and energy sapping experiential learning process for developing export capacity. Up to now, much of the literature on SME internationalisation from developing countries addresses what factors contribute towards their internationalisation but not how they internationalise. We have integrated three concepts in the internationalisation literature - export commitment, export capability and export capacity - into a process model on how export capacity develops among SMEs.

Keywords

export; internationalisation; capability; capacity; commitment; SMEs; developing country

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Crossref Citations

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