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Decision-making in an export context: combining planning and improvisation to improve export performance

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posted on 22.05.2014, 12:16 by Ekaterina Nemkova
The increasing interdependence of economies and the recent economic crisis has considerably strengthened the importance of exporting. It is recognised as promoting the survivability of companies as they are better able to diversify risks and generate multiple income streams. Thus, investigation of the determinants of export performance has become particularly important. Marketing decision-making has been identified as one of the core drivers of firms success. It is a process under the direct control of managers where significant changes can be introduced to improve it, and by extension, the ability to achieve successful outcomes. However, little is known about how export marketing decisions are made and what key decision-making approaches managers rely on to drive their performance. A literature review that span multiple disciplines (e.g. strategic management, organisation studies, marketing) helped to disentangle two key decision-making approaches, namely planning and improvisation. This is the first study examining the impact of both of these simultaneously on a firm s export performance. While planning is considered to be a unidimensional construct, improvisation is comprised of three facets: spontaneity, creativity and action-orientation. Based on decision theory, this research was conducted in two phases. The literature review informed phase 1: a qualitative exploratory study among export managers in the UK. A conceptual model was then derived from the results and tested in phase 2 through quantitative analysis utilising data generated from 200 respondent companies via a self-reported online questionnaires and the application of structural equation modelling. The results indicated that export customer performance was negatively affected by planning and positively influenced by action-orientation, whilst export financial performance was found to benefit from planning. All decision-making approaches (planning, spontaneity, creativity and action-orientation) were found to be positively related to responsiveness to environmental changes. Using moderator analysis, important insights were uncovered into combining decision-making approaches. The export function was found to benefit from a combination of planning and action-orientation, whereas spontaneity and creativity while having separate positive effects are not well combined with planning, producing negative moderation effects.



  • Business and Economics


  • Business


© Ekaterina Nemkova

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.

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