This study will aim at a further integration of government export information with the information needs of exporters. As the terms Export Assistance, Export Promotion and Export Incentives are often used interchangeably, the definition given by Seringhaus (1986) will be used. Export Promotion refers to all public measures that actually or potentially enhance exporting activity either from a firm, industry or national perspective (Seringhaus, 1986; Diamantopoulos, 1993). Better targeting of information and a more efficient allocation of governmental resources for export promotion will lead to better export assistance programs, more export involvement and, thus, more export sales (Krick, 1995; Singer, 1992).
1.1 Research Objectives and Problem Statement
The literature in the field of governmental export promotion has traditionally focused on the way in which firms had to behave in order to make use of governmental export assistance. (Czinkota, 1981) The flaw of this approach is, however, that it does not provide for an exploration of possibilities for governments to make their programs more effective. So far studies have pointed out relationships between the use of export promotion programs and firm characteristics like the stage of export involvement (Diamantopoulos, 1993), the size of the exporting company (Diamantopoulos, 1993), behavioral aspects of management towards governmental export assistance (Singer, 1994) and environmental factors (Wood, 2000). According to Crick and Czinkota (1995), research in the field of export marketing and Export Marketing Assistance (EMA) has come to a point where the need for a more longitudinal approach instead of a snapshot of requirements is needed. Regardless of whether firms should change their behavior towards export assistance programs, governments should gain a better understanding about the needs of exporting companies (Krick and Czinkota, 1995). Many attributes that are perceived to have performance improvement possibilities may be known to governments, but are not accounted for in the programs for export development and stimulation (Crick and Czinkota, 1995). Following these indicators, the question of whether exports are promoted in the most appropriate way should be asked (Czinkota, 1981). The aim of this study is to create profiles of successful exporters that use or have used governmental Export Marketing Assistance (EMA). Company profiles of successful export information users will allow governments to optimize the allocation of export information to firms. In this way, Qualifiers, Success Factors and Obsoletes in Export Assistance Programs can be identified. In order to determine profiles of exporters that made successful use of Governmental Export Assistance, their information needs and applications will be explored. This study will compare the offerings and the actual usage of governmental export information by categorizing EMA variables which are expected to affect export performance of firms on both governmental and firm level. By conducting a study along these lines, we will answer the following research problem: What are Qualifiers, Success Factors and Obsoletes in Governmental Export Marketing Assistance?
1.2 Research Question
From the discussion above, the exploration of which aspects of export promotion programs are most useful for exporters is pertinent. In order to do this, this study investigates which specific aspects of export promotion lead to the highest export success. The following research question can be asked:
Research question 1: "How do governmental export promotion programs relate to information needs of exporters?"
Answering this question will give us insight into the factors associated with successful export promotion. In order to do so a conceptual framework has to be built, which will be referred to as the EMAP-Model.
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