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What drives export resilience? The case of post-transition country firms in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic



Objective: The objective of this article is to explore the determinants of export resilience, considering the interactions of firm capabilities with prior export commitment and environmental hostility.

Research Design & Methods: We integrated insights from the organisational capabilities perspective, internationalisation process theory, and literature on environmental hostility to create a conceptual framework exploring how and under which boundary conditions firm capabilities drive export resilience. We proposed that this relationship is moderated by prior export commitment and environmental hostility. We tested the propositions on a sample of 500 Polish exporters in a COVID-19 environment.

Findings: We found empirical support for the positive interaction of firm capabilities with environmental hostility on export resilience.

Implications & Recommendations: Among others, we observed that firms facing higher environmental hostility must rely on their capabilities to a larger extent, leading to increased export resilience in terms of maintaining or expanding export operations and building up export-specific capabilities.

Contribution & Value Added: While economic crises have reinforced interest in organisational resilience, less attention has been paid to the resilience of exporting under crisis conditions. Export resilience has preferably been addressed from the point of view of its continuity or survival, rather than accounting for a more proactive view of the firms’ approach to exports under conditions of environmental hostility.



export resilience, firm capabilities, environmental hostility, post-transition country firms, COVID-19

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Author Biography

Marian Gorynia

Full Professor, employed at the Poznań University of Economics and Business (Poland), former Rector of this university in the years 2008-2016, and former Vice-rector for scientific research and international cooperation in 2002-2008. He is Vice-chair of the Scientific Excellence Council in 2020-2023, the institution which supervises post-doc degrees in Poland. His research focuses on firm competitiveness, international business strategies and globalisation. He has published his research in many prestigious journals, including International Business Review, Eurasian Geography and Economics, Communist and Post-Communist Studies, and Post-Communist Economies.

Jan Nowak

Retired University Professor, and former Rector of the European University of Business. He worked for universities in Poland, Canada, the Fiji Islands, and Hungary, where he held teaching and academic-related administrative positions. His research focused on marketing, firm internationalisation, foreign direct investment, and globalisation. His work was published in such scholarly journals as the Journal of International Consumer Behaviour, International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research, East European Economics, Eurasian Geography and Economics, Communist and Post-Communist Studies, Post-Communist Economies, and International Business Review.

Piotr Trąpczyński

Associate Professor at the Poznań University of Economics and Business, Department of International Competitiveness at the Institute of International Business and Economics. His research interests include foreign direct investments and divestments, export performance and export exits, along with business models. He has published his research, among others, in the Journal of World Business, Journal of Business Research, International Business Review, European Management Journal or European Journal of International Management.

Radoslaw Wolniak

Adjunct professor at the Faculty of Economic Sciences of the University of Warsaw, Poland. He has researched foreign direct investment, the strategy of multinational firms and international economic integration. He has published articles in international refereed journals including International Business Review, Eastern European Economics, Eurasian Geography and Economics, and Communist and Post-Communist Studies, as well as books on these subject areas. He has over 50 years of teaching experience in international business, strategy of multinational firms and international marketing. Besides holding administrative posts at Polish universities he has also held positions on management and supervisory boards of Polish companies.


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