Organizational Characteristics and Performance of Export Promotion Agencies: Portugal and Ireland compared
Export Promotion Agencies (EPAs) have been in operation in developed countries since the beginning of the 20th century to improve the competitiveness of firms by increasing knowledge and competences applied to export market development. Some studies exists on the influence of organizational characteristics on EPAs’ performance, but, to the best of our knowledge, no studies have yet been conducted that analyze, detail and explain which of the EPAs’ organizational characteristics are associated to their differing levels of success. In the present paper we compare a laggard (Portuguese) and a highly efficient (Irish) EPA in terms of export promotion. A questionnaire was applied to the employees of the two EPAs who deal directly with firms in terms of exports promotion. Using the non-parametric test of Kruskal Wallis and factor analysis we found that there are clear differences between the agencies regarding organizational dimensions. In particular, Agência para o Investimento e Comércio Externo de Portugal (AICEP) emerges as an organization without any clear component of intentionality, being more concerned with internal matters rather than with actions directed at the market. In contrast, Enterprise Ireland (EI)’s philosophy is more market-oriented and taking the clients’ needs into consideration is a priority.
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