Internationalization in the face of export barriers : a study of New Zealand's firms : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the Doctor of Philosophy at Massey University, New Zealand

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Massey University
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Export barriers have inhibiting effects on export performance, especially for smaller and resource-poor firms. Classical internationalization theory suggests that the bigger, the older, the more resource rich and resourceful a firm is, the better the chances for success of their international or global operations. In practice, however, many small New Zealand firms have been able to overcome export barriers and achieve successful internationalization quickly in the complex, turbulent, global environment of today. Existing theories do not fully explain how and why this is possible. The apparent knowledge gap is closed by the present research with its indepth investigation into the management of export barriers and related internationalization practices using a holistic approach based on case studies. In this way the study contributes to knowledge by advancing the understanding of internationalization behaviour. In conclusion a new theoretical model is developed from the variables which this research has identified as to influence export performance and internationalization behaviour. The research is based on the cases of fifty export firms across the major business sectors from New Zealand' s Manawatu region. The study design involved a postal survey, background research, in-depth interviews and observations. The triangulated data was compiled into case studies and analysed using Eisenhardt' s grounded approach. Two main categories of export barriers were identified: ( 1 ) industry or product-specific barriers, and (2) common or shared barriers independent of industries and products. The research design enabled research into management patterns independent from sectors or industries. The findings suggest that export barriers determine strategies. In a situation of severe resource constraints, large geographic distance from international markets and small domestic market size, New Zealand' s exporters anticipate their export barriers in order not to let them impact on export performance. Successful firms reduce the influence of obstacles towards internationalization by building their strategies creatively around their core competencies in what is described as a "bricolage" approach.
Exports, International business enterprises, Small business, New Zealand