The critical role of relationship quality in small- and medium-sized enterprise internationalization

David B. Kuhlmeier, Gary Knight

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Due to limited resources, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) carefully develop and leverage relationships with foreign, independent intermediaries. This article investigates "relationship quality," a collection of intangible organizational resources in the exporter-intermediary relationship that support the internationalization and foreign performance of SMEs. Four dimensions of relationship quality-communication, cooperation, trust, and commitment-are modeled and linked to intermediary performance. Findings highlight the significance of relationship quality, its dimensions, and how they support intermediary performance. Cooperation and commitment are significant performance antecedents. Trust is a significant antecedent of commitment, and communication drives cooperation, trust, and commitment. The study provides SMEs a way to enhance the quality of relationships with, and to help improve the performance of, their intermediaries in export markets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-32
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Global Marketing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010


  • Export
  • Foreign intermediary
  • Performance
  • Relationship quality
  • Resource-based view
  • Small- and medium-sized enterprise


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