Competence modelling for export performance improvement in Ethiopia

W.T. Birru

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


Export is increasingly seen as an important route for entrepreneurial firms to realize their growth potential. Consequently, a better understanding of the determinant factors for export performance of the firm is of great importance for firms’ success and expansion in the export markets. In this context, international business competence (IBC) is an essential intangible strategic resource that engenders export performance of the firm. This thesis studies the relationships between international business competence and export performance in a developing country context. The thesis shows that IBC comprises a number of specific competence domains; hence, in order to strengthen the said competitive advantages and achieve enhanced export performance, firms need to have suitable IBCs to the context in which they are operating. Furthermore, the thesis shows that IBCs influence each other’s effects, and organizational learning orientation strengthens the effects of the various IBCs. The thesis generally argues that firms need to develop the required competencies in their context to increase export performance, but if this would be exclusively based on the direct relationships between the competencies and export performance, results may be suboptimal. Thus, they need to maintain the optimal balance between their competencies on the one hand, and establish and maintain higher levels of organizational learning orientations on the other hand. The thesis implies that studies that ignore the interaction between different competencies and which do not include contextual factors in the examination provide an incomplete and simplistic picture of the relationship between international business competencies and export performance.

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
  • Mulder, Martin, Promotor
  • Runhaar, Piety, Co-promotor
  • Lans, Thomas, Co-promotor
Award date2 Sept 2016
Place of PublicationWageningen
Print ISBNs9789462578999
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • competency based education
  • professional competence
  • organizations
  • international organizations
  • international trade
  • management science
  • management skills
  • ethiopia
  • east africa


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