Do board directors affect the export orientation and export performance of Korean firms? A resource dependence perspective

Using the Heckman two-stage method, this study empirically investigates whether board directors’ work experience in government and multinational corporations (MNCs), as well as the proportion of outside directors affects export propensity and export performance based on a sample of Korean firms. We find that the Korean firms with former government officials on the board are more likely to engage in exporting, although there is no empirical evidence supporting export performance. The findings also show that firms with former MNC employees on the board demonstrate higher levels of export propensity and export performance. Similarly, firms with a higher proportion of outside directors exhibit a higher level of export propensity and export performance. These findings highlight the importance of the board of directors in Korean firms’ first stage of internationalization and provide new insights into which type of board members can benefit their firms in terms of export propensity and export performance.