Impact of innovativeness, risk-taking, and proactiveness on export performance in a developing country: evidence of qualitative study


  • University of Malaya
  • University of Malaya
  • University of Malaya
  • University of Malaya
  • Academy for Research Skills Development
  • International University of Business Agriculture and Technology
  • Institute of Malaysian and International Studies, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia



Exportperformance, Innovativeness, Proactiveness, Risk-taking, Qualitative research, Bangladesh



This study aims to explain the effect of entrepreneurial orientation (EO) dimensions on firms’ export performance. The study has considered three dimensions of EO: innovativeness, proactiveness and risk-taking. Export performance has been measured through multifaceted determinants: financial, strategic and satisfaction levels of exporting firms.


To explain the association between such determinants, qualitative face-to-face, in-depth interviews were conducted with the respondents from the apparel manufacturing companies of Bangladesh. The study has also applied a content analysis technique to explore and triangulate the descriptions of EO dimensions on performance.


The research results reveal that EO has a meaningful explanation of export performance from the lived experience of the respondents. The study has also found frequent explanations and indicators about the association of innovativeness and proactiveness on export performance, but the risk-taking dimension has revealed no effects.

Research limitations/implications

The research has different implications on theoretical, managerial and policy-making aspects of EO and export performance. Nevertheless, the findings are based on the opinions of a small sample of entrepreneurs and high-level managers. Thus, it is important to test the generalizability of these findings in future research using a larger sample.


This study indicated product, process and market creation innovativeness. Risks related to product innovation, new market entry and politics are considered for risk-taking measures, while proactive innovation, technology and new market searching are used for measuring proactiveness. Additionally, multifaceted performance determinants have been applied to evaluate export performance. Hence, this study is a unique qualitative analysis with important theoretical, practical and methodological implications.


Download data is not yet available.


Ahmed, R., Islam, M. T., & Al-Amin, M. (2013). The effects of market diversification activities on Bangladesh RMG export. International Journal of Economics and Financial Issues, 3(4), 938.

Aloulou, W. J. (2018). Examining entrepreneurial orientation’s dimensions-performance relationship in Saudi family businesses: Contingency role of family involvement in management. Journal of Family Business Management, 8(2), 126–145. doi: 10.1108/JFBM-02-2018-0007.

Anderson, A., & Ronteau, S. (2017). Towards an entrepreneurial theory of practice: Emerging ideas for emerging economies. Journal of Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies, 9(2), 110–120. doi: 10.1108/JEEE-12-2016-0054.

Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, (BBS). (2020). Annual report.

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturer and Exporters’ Association (BGMEA). (2020). Annual report.

Export Processing Bureau, (EPB). (2020). Annual report.

Arteaga-Ortiz, J., & Fernández-Ortiz, R. (2010). Why don’t we use the same export barrier measurement scale? An empirical analysis in small and medium-sized enterprises. Journal of Small Business Management, 48(3), 395–420. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-627X.2010.00300.x.

Baah, C., Opoku-Agyeman, D., Acquah, I. S. K., Issau, K., & Abdoulaye, F. A. M. (2020). Understanding the influence of environmental production practices on firm performance: A proactive versus reactive approach. Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, 32(2), 266–289. doi: 10.1108/JMTM-05-2020-0195.

Balabanis, G. I., & Katsikea, E. S. (2003). Being an entrepreneurial exporter: Does it pay? International Business Review, 12(2), 233–252. doi: 10.1016/S0969-5931(02)00098-7.

Barua, S., Kar, D., & Mahbub, F. B. (2018). Risks and their management in ready-made garment industry: Evidence from the world’s second largest exporting nation. Journal of Business and Management, 24(2), 75–99.

Barua, U., Wiersma, J. W. F., & Ansary, M. A. (2021). Can rana plaza happen again in Bangladesh? Safety Science, 135 doi: 10.1016/j.ssci.2020.105103.

Beleska-Spasova, E. (2014). Determinants and measures of export performance: Comprehensive literature review. Journal of contemporary economic and business issues, 1(1) 63–74.

Bernard, H. R. (2017). Research methods in anthropology: Qualitative and quantitative approaches, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Boso, N., Annan, J., Adeleye, I., Iheanachor, N., & Narteh, B. (2018). Examining the paths from export strategic orientations to export performance: The mediating role of export resource transformation capability. Thunderbird International Business Review, 60(2), 207–230. doi: 10.1002/tie.21878.

Burnard, P. (1991). A method of analyzing interview transcripts in qualitative research. Nurse Education Today, 11(6), 461–466. doi: 10.1016/0260-6917(91)90009-Y.

Cadogan, J. W., Boso, N., Story, V. M., & Adeola, O. (2016). Export strategic orientation–performance relationship: Examination of its enabling and disenabling boundary conditions. Journal of Business Research, 69(11), 5046–5052. doi: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2016.04.078.

Canh, N. T., Liem, N. T., Thu, P. A., & Khuong, N. V. (2019). The impact of innovation on the firm performance and corporate social responsibility of Vietnamese manufacturing firms. Sustainability, 11(13), 3666 doi: 10.3390/su11133666.

Cannavale, C., & Nadali, J. (2019). Entrepreneurial orientation and performance: A problematic explanatory approach in the Iranian knowledge-based industry. The Journal of Entrepreneurship, 28(1), 64–93. doi: 10.1177/0971355718810295.

Carlson, L. A., & Bitsch, V. (2018). Social sustainability in the ready-made garment sector in Bangladesh: an institutional approach to supply chains. International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, 21(2), 269–292. doi: 10.22434/IFAMR2017.0114.

Charmaz, K. (2006). Constructing grounded theory: a practical guide through qualitative analysis, London: Sage.

Chaston, I., & Scott, G. J. (2012). Entrepreneurship and open innovation in an emerging economy. Management Decision, 50(7), 1161–1177. doi: 10.1108/00251741211246941.

Chen, J., & Liu, L. (2019). Profiting from green innovation: The moderating effect of competitive strategy. Sustainability, 11(1), 15 doi: 10.3390/su11010015.

Chen, J., Sousa., & He, X. (2016). The determinants of export performance: A review of the literature 2006-2014. International Marketing Review, 33(5), 626–670. doi: 10.1108/IMR-10-2015-0212.

Chowdhury, M. M. H., Umme, N. J., & Nuruzzaman, M. (2018). Strategies for mitigating supply-side barriers in the apparel supply chain: A study on the apparel industry of Bangladesh. Global Journal of Flexible Systems Management, 19(S1), 41–52. doi: 10.1007/s40171-017-0180-6.

Covin, J. G., & Miller, D. (2014). International entrepreneurial orientation: Conceptual considerations, research themes, measurement issues, and future research directions. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 38(1), 11–44. doi: 10.1111/etap.12027.

Crotty, M., & Crotty, M. F. (1998). The foundations of social research: Meaning and perspective in the research process, London: Sage.

Dai, L., Maksimov, V., Gilbert, B. A., & Fernhaber, S. A. (2014). Entrepreneurial orientation and international scope: The differential roles of innovativeness, proactiveness, and risk-taking. Journal of Business Venturing, 29(4), 511–524. doi: 10.1016/j.jbusvent.2013.07.004.

Das, T., Barua, U., & Ansary, M. A. (2018). Factors affecting vulnerability of ready-made garment factory buildings in Bangladesh: An assessment under vertical and earthquake loads. International Journal of Disaster Risk Science, 9(2), 207–223. doi: 10.1007/s13753-018-0177-6.

Denzin, N. K. (2012). Triangulation 2.0. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 6(2), 80–88. doi: 10.1177/1558689812437186.

Denzin, N. K. Lincoln, & Y. S. (Eds.). (2011). The Sage handbook of qualitative research, London: Sage.

Dominguez, N. Mayrhofer, & U. (Eds.). (2018). Key success factors of SME internationalization: A cross-country perspective, Vol. 34, Bingley: Emerald Publishing Limited.

Duriau, V. J., Reger, R. K., & Pfarrer, M. D. (2007). A content analysis of the content analysis literature in organization studies: Research themes, data sources and methodological refinements. Organizational Research Methods, 10(1), 5–34. doi: 10.1177/1094428106289252.

Fayolle, A., Basso, O., & Bouchard, V. (2010). Three levels of culture and firms’ entrepreneurial orientation: a research agenda. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 22(7-8), 707–730. doi: 10.1080/08985620903233952.

Felzensztein, C., Ciravegna, L., Robson, P., & Amorós, J. E. (2015). Networks, entrepreneurial orientation, and internationalization scope: Evidence from Chilean small and medium enterprises. Journal of Small Business Management, 53(S1), 145–160. doi: 10.1111/jsbm.12188.

Fernández-Mesa, A., & Alegre, J. (2015). Entrepreneurial orientation and export intensity: Examining the interplay of organizational learning and innovation. International Business Review, 24(1), 148–156.

Freiling, J., & Lütke Schelhowe, C. (2014). The impact of entrepreneurial orientation on the performance and speed of internationalization. Journal of Entrepreneurship, Management and Innovation, 10(4), 169 doi: 10.7341/20141047.

George, G., Robley Wood, D., Jr,., & Khan, R. (2001). Networking strategy of boards: Implications for small and medium-sized enterprises. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 13(3), 269–285. doi: 10.1080/08985620110058115.

Gibbs, G. R. (2008). Analyzing qualitative data, Los Angeles: Sage Publications.

Gou, Z., & Jiang, W. (2020). Risk-taking for entrepreneurial new entry: Risk-taking dimensions and contingencies. International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, 16, 739–781.

Hansen, J. D., Deitz, G. D., Tokman, M., Marino, L. D., & Weaver, K. M. (2011). Cross-national invariance of the entrepreneurial orientation scale. Journal of Business Venturing, 26(1), 61–78. doi: 10.1016/j.jbusvent.2009.05.003.

Hernandez-Perlines, F. (2018). Moderating effect of absorptive capacity on the entrepreneurial orientation of international performance of family businesses. Journal of Family Business Management, 8(1), 58–74. doi: 10.1108/JFBM-10-2017-0035.

Hossain, K., & Azmi, I. B. A. G. (2020). Linking entrepreneurial orientation dimensions with multidimensional differentiation strategy. Management Science Letters, 10(8), 1881–1886.

Hossain, K., & Azmi, I. (2021). The effect of entrepreneurial orientation on the export performance of apparel industry. Uncertain Supply Chain Management, 9(1), 11–20.

Hosseini, M., Dadfar, H., & Brege, S. (2018). Firm-level entrepreneurship and international performance: a simultaneous examination of orientation and action. Journal of International Entrepreneurship, 16(3), 338–368.

Imran, M., Jian, Z., Urbański, M., & Nair, S. L. S. (2018). Determinants of firm’s export performance in China’s automobile industry. Sustainability, 10(11), 4078 doi: 10.3390/su10114078.

Jin, H., & Hurd, F. (2018). Exploring the impact of digital platforms on SME internationalization: New Zealand SMEs use of the Alibaba platform for Chinese market entry. Journal of Asia-Pacific Business, 19(2), 72–95. doi: 10.1080/10599231.2018.1453743.

Jones, M.V., Coviello, N. & Tang, Y.K. (2011). International entrepreneurship research (1989–2009): a domain ontology and thematic analysis. Journal of Business Venturing, 26(6), 632–659.

Karami, M., & Tang, J. (2019). Entrepreneurial orientation and SME international performance: The mediating role of networking capability and experiential learning. International Small Business Journal: Researching Entrepreneurship, 37(2), 105–124. doi: 10.1177/0266242618807275.

Khalid, S. (2019). Explorative and exploitative strategies and export performance. Journal of Research in Marketing and Entrepreneurship, 22(1), 21–36. doi: 10.1108/JRME-01-2018-0004.

Khan, S. I., Bartram, T., Cavanagh, J., Hossain, M. S., & Akter, S. (2019). Decent work” in the ready-made garment sector in Bangladesh. Personnel Review, 48(1), 40–55. doi: 10.1108/PR-01-2018-0001.

Knight, G., Moen, Ø., & Madsen, T. K. (2020). Antecedents to differentiation strategy in the exporting SME. International Business Review, 29(6) doi: 10.1016/j.ibusrev.2020.101740.

Kraus, S., Burtscher, J., Vallaster, C., & Angerer, M. (2018). Sustainable entrepreneurship orientation: A reflection on status-quo research on factors facilitating responsible managerial practices. Sustainability, 10(2), 444–465. doi: 10.3390/su10020444.

Lumpkin, G. T., & Dess, G. G. (1996). Clarifying the entrepreneurial orientation construct and linking it to performance. The Academy of Management Review, 21(1), 135–172. doi: 10.2307/258632.

Lyon, D. W., Lumpkin, G. T., & Dess, G. C. (2000). Enhancing entrepreneurial research: Operationalising and measuring a key strategic decision making process. Journal of Management, 26(5), 1055–1085. doi: 10.1177/014920630002600503.

Miles, M. B., & Huberman, A. M. (1994). Qualitative data analysis: An expanded sourcebook, London: Sage.

Miller, D. (1983). The correlates of entrepreneurship in three types of firms. Management Science, 29(7), 770–791. doi: 10.1287/mnsc.29.7.770.

Miller, D. (2011). Miller (1983) revisited: A reflection on EO research and some suggestions for the future. Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice, 35(5), 873–894.

Moazzem, K. G. (2019). New minimum wage of the RMG sector addressing the issues of non-compliance in implementation. CPD Working Paper 129, Dhaka.

Morgan, R. E., & Strong, C. A. (2003). Business performance and dimensions of strategic orientation. Journal of Business Research, 56(3), 163–176. doi: 10.1016/S0148-2963(01)00218-1.

Morse, J. M. (2005). Evolving trends in qualitative research: Advances in mixed-method design. Qualitative Health Research, 15(5), 583–585. doi: 10.1177/1049732305275169.

Nuruzzaman, M. (2015). Improving competitiveness in manufacturing-wholesaling-retailing supply chains. In sustaining competitive advantage via business intelligence, knowledge management, and system dynamics. Advances in business marketing and purchasing, 22A, pp. 221–457. Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Okangi, P. F. (2019). The impact of entrepreneurial orientation on the profitability growth of construct firms in Tanzania. Journal of Global Entrepreneurship Research, 9(1), 1–23. doi: 10.1186/s40497-018-0143-1.

Pehrsson, A. (2016). Firm’s strategic orientation, market context, and performance. European Business Review, 28(4), 378–404. doi: 10.1108/EBR-11-2015-0142.

Pehrsson, A. (2019). When are innovativeness and responsiveness effective in a foreign market? Journal of International Entrepreneurship, 17(1), 19–40. doi: 10.1007/s10843-018-0242-7.

Rauch, A., Wiklund, J., Lumpkin, G. T., & Frese, M. (2009). Entrepreneurial orientation and business performance: An assessment of past research and suggestions for the future. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 33(3), 761–787. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-6520.2009.00308.x.

Rezaei, J., & Ortt, R. (2018). Entrepreneurial orientation and firm performance: The mediation role of functional performances. Management Research Review, 41(7), 878–900. doi: 10.1108/MRR-03-2017-0092.

PRC. (2020). Muslim population by country. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from

Rua, O. L., França, A., & Ortiz, R. F. (2017). Entrepreneurial orientation and firm performance. Entrepreneurship-Trends and Challenges, 1, 24–35.

Runyan, R. C., Ge, B., Dong, B., & Swinney, J. L. (2012). Entrepreneurial orientation in cross-cultural research: Assessing measurement invariance in the construct. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 36(4), 819–836. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-6520.2010.00436.x.

Shan, P., Song, M., & Ju, X. (2016). Entrepreneurial orientation and performance: Is innovation speed a missing link? Journal of Business Research, 69(2), 683–690. doi: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2015.08.032.

Shoham, A. (1998). Export performance: A conceptualization and empirical assessment. Journal of International Marketing, 6(3), 59–81. doi: 10.1177/1069031X9800600308.

Short, J. C., Broberg, J. C., Cogliser, C. C., & Brigham, K. H. (2010). Construct validation using Computer-Aided text analysis (CATA): An illustration using entrepreneurial orientation. Organizational Research Methods, 13(2), 320–347. doi: 10.1177/1094428109335949.

Sousa, C., & Martinez-Lopez Coelho, F. (2008). The determinants of export performance: A review of the research in the literature between 1998 and 2005. International Journal of Management Reviews, 10(4), 343–374. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2370.2008.00232.x.

Su, Z., Xie, E., & Wang, D. (2015). Entrepreneurial orientation, managerial networking, and new venture performance in China. Journal of Small Business Management, 53(1), 228–248. doi: 10.1111/jsbm.12069.

Thanos, I. C., Dimitratos, P., & Sapouna, P. (2017). The implications of international entrepreneurial orientation, politicization, and hostility upon SME international performance. International Small Business Journal: Researching Entrepreneurship, 35(4), 495–514. doi: 10.1177/0266242616641749.

Wales, W. J. (2016). Entrepreneurial orientation: a review and synthesis of promising research directions. International Small Business Journal: Researching Entrepreneurship, 34(1), 3–15. doi: 10.1177/0266242615613840.

Wales, W. J., Gupta, V. K., & Mousa, F. T. (2013). Empirical research on entrepreneurial orientation: An assessment and suggestions for future research. International Small Business Journal: Researching Entrepreneurship, 31(4), 357–383. doi: 10.1177/0266242611418261.

Wiklund, J., & Shephard, D. A. (2011). Where to from here? EO-as-Experimentation, failure, and distribution of outcomes. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 35(5), 925–946. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-6520.2011.00454.x.

Younas, I. Z., & Zafar, A. (2019). Corporate risk-taking and sustainability: A case of listed firms from USA and Germany. Journal of Global Responsibility, 10(1), 2–15. doi: 10.1108/JGR-07-2018-0027.

Zou, S., Taylor, C. R., & Osland, G. E. (1998). The EXPERF scale: A cross-national generalized export performance measure. Journal of International Marketing, 6(3), 37–58. doi: 10.1177/1069031X9800600307.






Research Paper