Stability and Multinational Flexibility as Drivers of Export Performance: An Abstract

Tsipora Ehrlich, Aviv Shoham

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Firm performance driven by relationship marketing (RM) has been a topic of research for scholars for over several decades. Successful inter-organizational relationships are critical to firm performance because most firms must combine internal organizational capabilities and resources with services provided by external organizations to compete effectively. While much is known about these relationships, less is known about the roles of international distribution channels and their influence on performance. This point is discussed further below. The literature has mostly neglected to consider the roles of stability and multinational flexibility as anteceding constructs of international relationship quality. This article introduces a new integrative model, which includes stability and multinational flexibility as drivers of relationship quality and, indirectly, international performance. The model is made of eleven constructs: inertia, stability, multinational flexibility, trust, commitment, communication, conflict, standardization/adaptation, cooperation, channel flexibility, and international performance. It is based on the RM approach, which has recognized the roles of behavioral aspects commonly referred to in the literature as relationship quality (RQ) hereunder. The model includes two levels of intermediary constructs. The first level includes RQ indicators, namely, trust, commitment, communication, and conflict as well as four components of the standardization/adaptation construct. The second level of intermediary variables consists of channel cooperation and channel flexibility. The final component of the model is international performance. Insights from several theories and frameworks are combined in this model. These include commitment-trust theory, the resource-based view of the firm (RBV), and the knowledge-based view of the firm (KBV). The innovative combination of these theory and views has great explanatory potential, which allows to test the relative roles of behavioral RQ. A multi-industry research design approach has been adopted using data from 272 manufacturing firms engaged in export marketing. The multi-industry design reduces the likelihood of sampling bias. Theoretically, the findings suggest that stability and multinational flexibility positively affect RQ which in turn enhances cooperation and channel flexibility leading to higher international performance. The study reinforces the positioning of relational resources and capabilities within the RBV and specifically the KBV framework, with the findings indicating that relational variables indeed enhance performance. Practically, the study provides clear guidelines for managers to improve business performance. Striving for stable relationship, investing in communication enhancement, and being aware of the central role of trust and commitment are expected to be beneficial in terms of international performance.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDevelopments in Marketing Science
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the Academy of Marketing Science
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages2
StatePublished - 2017

Publication series

NameDevelopments in Marketing Science: Proceedings of the Academy of Marketing Science
ISSN (Print)2363-6165
ISSN (Electronic)2363-6173

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, Academy of Marketing Science.


  • Customer Relationship Management
  • Export Performance
  • Firm Performance
  • International Performance
  • Relationship Quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing
  • Strategy and Management


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