Absorptive capacity; Contract manufacturing exporters; Information technology capability; Performance; Vietnam
This study contributes to knowledge involving ‘absorptive capacity’ in firms’ entrepreneurial marketing behaviour, focusing on the under-researched context of contract manufacturing exporters in global supply chains. We divide absorptive capacity into potential and realised components to examine the mediating roles of realised absorptive capacity and information technology capability in the association between potential absorptive capacity and export performance of Vietnamese firms. Testing of the model is via the partial least squares approach to structural equation modelling utilising a sample of 156 businesses. Selected quotes from interviewees supplement the core quantitative phase. The findings suggest these exporters need to consider absorptive capacity, not as a unidimensional capability, but as multi-dimensional in nature. Potential absorptive capacity is not sufficient by itself and rather it results in enhanced performance by turning external knowledge into internal resources/capabilities and leveraging information technology capability. The study provides recommendations in developing capabilities to enhance the exporters’ performance.