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Title: International competitiveness of SMEs : a case of Ghanaian non-traditional horticultural exporters
Author: Appiah, Kenneth
ISNI:       0000 0004 5994 1462
Awarding Body: University of Bedfordshire
Current Institution: University of Bedfordshire
Date of Award: 2016
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Intense competition in the international markets has made the determinants of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) competitiveness an important asset in the export business, making of policies, strategies and decision making by businesses. SMEs are often seen to be disadvantaged for a variety of reasons, including inappropriate internal structures, lack of capabilities, insufficient resource support and apparent lack of foreign-market knowledge. The nature of international markets and the disadvantages SMEs face, make it imperative to examine the determinants of SME international competitiveness. Although some literature has recorded some studies on internationalisation of SMEs in developed economies, there is insufficient study of SME internationalisation, particularly in the context of non-traditional horticultural SME exporters in developing economies. Hence, the study aims to evaluate the determinants of non-traditional horticultural exporters’ international competitiveness by addressing the question: To what extent are non-traditional horticultural exporters in Ghana competitive in the international market? In the context of this study nontraditional horticultural exports exclude cocoa beans, logs and lumber. The study enriches the literature on internationalisation of SME exporters in developing economies by providing guidance for future research in a field of SME international business. The theoretical foundations of the study draw mostly on three perspectives: the resource based view, international entrepreneurship and institutional theory. From the review of literature, a conceptual framework was developed: ME international competitiveness is conceptualised in this research as government support factors, entrepreneurial factors and a firm’s internal factors. At the empirical level, the study employed qualitative and quantitative approaches which involved surveying 105 non-traditional horticultural exporters (respondents) in Ghana. Six hypotheses were tested on the key issues in this project, which were statistically analysed, employing logit regression, Pearson correlation and chi square. Secondly, the study uses six export facilitating institutions which were interviewed to gain understanding of the services these institutions offer to non-traditional horticultural SME exporters in Ghana. The main findings suggest that Ghana government support policies, access to finance, Technological Innovation, number of years in business, the size of the firm, Entrepreneurial Factors and the number of exporting destinations of the nontraditional horticultural SME exporters have had positive impact on the competitiveness of horticultural SME exporters in international markets. The findings also contribute, to some extent, to the advancement of the empirical, theoretical and managerial understanding of SME international competitiveness in developing economies. The research contributes to the international business literature by providing a model for understanding the determinants of horticultural SMEs’ international competitiveness. This highlights the important role of government, the entrepreneurial orientation, and a firm’s internal factors in realising SME competitiveness. The research also provides guidance for policy makers and SME business facilitators in implementing export-led programmes for horticultural exporting firms in Ghana.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: competitiveness ; resource based view ; entrepreneurship ; institutional theory ; international competitiveness ; non-traditional export ; horticulture SME exporters ; developing economies ; N120 International Business studies ; Ghana