ICT Usage and its Effect on Export Performance: Empirical Evidence from Small and Medium Enterprises in the Manufacturing Sector in Zimbabwe
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Zimbabwe have been considered as the future driver of economic development. And yet they are not spared from global competition that threatens their existence. Adoption of information and communication technology (ICT) has been regarded as one of the strategies for survival in this global competitive environment. However, there is a paucity of empirical evidence on the effect of ICT usage on export performance of SMEs. This study was, therefore, undertaken to examine the effect of ICT usage on the export performance of SMEs in the manufacturing sector in Zimbabwe. A cross-sectional survey of 243 SMEs was conducted in Harare, the capital city of Zimbabwe. Results show that overall ICT usage positively predicts the export performance of manufacturing SMEs. However, the ICT’s prediction of the export performance is dimension-specific. Of the three dimensions of ICT usage, only relationship building capabilities significantly predicts export performance while market intelligence and marketing capabilities do not significantly predict export performance. The paper recommends that the use of ICT should be aligned with the goals of the firms.
Keywords: export performance; firm performance; information and communication technology; innovation; small and medium enterprises