Export information use in small and medium‐sized industrial companies: An application of Diamantopoulos’ and Souchon's scale
This study focuses on the use of export marketing information in small and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs), an area that has previously attracted little academic research attention. It reports on the application of scales measuring instrumental/conceptual and symbolic export information use, using a random sample of UK exporters, to SME exporters of engineering and IT products. The results show that the scales are applicable within the specific context of the industrial SMEs surveyed and that levels of symbolic export information use are higher in these SMEs than in UK exporting companies as a whole. The latter is explained as a function of a shortfall in two areas: first, in available export marketing information, leading to greater dependence on “guesswork” and intuition; and second, in specialist marketing information‐processing skills on the part of SME export decision makers. The article concludes by appealing for an extension of export support for SMEs, to include the use of export information as well as simply its acquisition. It suggests that the scales tested here could be used both to diagnose the need for such SME support and to measure its effectiveness.