Direct Evidence on Learning by Exporting: Customers, Competitors and Technology Leadership

Christoph Grimpe, Rene Belderbos

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    We examine first direct evidence on the occurrence of learning by exporting, using unique survey data for German innovating firms on the role of (foreign) customers and competitors as sources of ideas and impetus for innovation. Export intensive firms frequently benefit simultaneously from domestic learning and export learning – an issue that has been ignored in prior studies. Learning from foreign customers is more prevalent than learning from foreign competitors. Firms’ underlying innovation strategy appears as an important moderator of the propensity to learn and of the relationship between learning and innovativeness. Firms adopting a strategy of technology leadership more often exhibit effective learning from diverse foreign customers and this learning is strongly associated with innovative sales – but mostly so if combined with domestic customer learning. In contrast, firms that have not adopted a leadership strategy benefit most from foreign competitor learning, as they are more likely to respond to competitive pressures abroad by product imitation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 56th Annual Meeting of the Academy of International Business : Local Contexts in Global Business
    EditorsKlaus Meyer, Tunga Kiyak
    Place of PublicationEast Lansing, MI
    PublisherAcademy of International Business
    Publication date2014
    Publication statusPublished - 2014
    EventAIB 2014 Annual Meeting : Local Context in Global Business - Westin Bayshore, Vancouver, Canada
    Duration: 23 Jun 201426 Jun 2014
    Conference number: 56


    ConferenceAIB 2014 Annual Meeting
    LocationWestin Bayshore
    Internet address
    SeriesAcademy of International Business. Annual Meeting. Proceedings

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