Effective exporting, an analysis of contemporary and enduring critical success factors which enable successful exporting performance by UK SME

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The overall aim of this study is to establish CSF (critical success factors) associated with effective export performance through an analysis of successful practice. The research examines and investigates the characteristics of UK small to medium enterprises SME across a multitude of industries that have recently won a highly prestigious Queens Award for International Trade between the year 2014 to 2016. Who better to ask what makes an effective exporter than those firms awarded the highest accolade for their International trade through exporting. The research also serves as a replication of a study undertaken by the Department of Marketing at Strathclyde University in the early 1980s titled 'Successful Exporting'. The massive growth and changes within contemporary global trade and the subsequent significant impact on UK exporting along with a scarcity of relevant replications makes the need for this research timely. This research project was based on a comprehensive review of relevant literature and empirical research in the form of online self completion questionnaires taken and adapted from the most significant previous research.The findings highlight that there are a number of critical success factors for UK exporters including main export markets, "Born Global SME", competitors, antecedents of export performance, export marketing strategy, destination markets and investment in technology. This research makes several recommendations with regard to advancing understanding of key issues in future and providing guidance on both contemporary and enduring critical success factors for firms wishing to initiate or expand their exporting activities. Main recommendations include a collaborative effort by the many researchers in this field to develop and agree upon a conceptual framework which can act as a foundation for all future studies. Additionally, further research into at a tactical level the development of an optimum marketing mix and with particular emphasis on further contemporary research into export promotions, product quality and pricing. Born global firms has emerged from findings as a significant emerging phenomenon which requires further investigation. Finally, more replications of previous accepted export studies are recommended. Thus elucidating guidance on the way forward for future research and practical advice for UK exporters seeking to initiate or expand their current exporting activities.
Date of Award14 Oct 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SponsorsESRC (Economic and Social Research Council)
SupervisorSpiros Gounaris (Supervisor) & Anne Marie Doherty (Supervisor)

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