Relationships Between Firm Characteristics and Export Constraints in SME Exporters
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This article presents results of an exploratory nationwide survey of 124 manufacturing companies in Zimbabwe involved in exporting all over the world that was undertaken during the last quarter of 1999 and first quarter of 2000. It focuses on the relationship between firm characteristics of manufacturing exporters and constructs that define factors constraining export growth and competitiveness. Zimbabwe’s export growth has fallen by 7.2% over the past two years because of a politically induced economic crisis. The study concludes that Zimbabwe’s exporters are essentially small to medium and that size, experience, and risk aversion are the characteristics that strongly contribute to perceived constraints. It observes five constructs underpinning the current constraints to growth and competitiveness. These are inadequate experiential knowledge, inadequate technical skills, uncompetitive pricing, operational capacity, and an unsupportive business environment. Scrutiny of the constraint constructs shows that organisational characteristics explain both exporter weaknesses and their strategic shortfalls. The study concludes that, while a politically induced economic crisis has significantly contributed to the current decline in exports, corporate weaknesses and strategic inflexibility worsen the poor performance.
Additional Citation InformationMuranda, Zororo. (2003), ''Characteristics and Export Constraints in SME Exporters'', Zambezia, vol. 30, no.1, pp. 83-107.
University of Zimbabwe Publications