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Export experience counts: Exploring its effect on product design change

Tsinopoulos, C.; Lages, L.F.; Sousa, C.M.P.

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C. Tsinopoulos

L.F. Lages

C.M.P. Sousa


In this paper we explore how managers’ export experience can affect the change in product design following changes in perceived past performance. Using data from 519 Portuguese exporters we find that performance improvement will encourage safe decision making in which firms either will not change the product design or will change it in a way that makes it more similar across the product range. However, when managers’ export experience is greater they encourage change in ways that could support product differentiation. The abilities of experienced managers to read the market, i.e. to interpret changes in performance and translate them into product specifications, help explain these findings. We contribute to the literature in two ways. First, we explore the relationship between past export performance change, product design, and managers’ export experience. Second, we identify specific kinds of design changes that firms adopt in response to changes in different dimensions of organizational performance. Based on our findings we would recommend to new product development managers to consider both managers’ export experience and the dimension used to measure performance when evaluating calls for standardizing the design by export managers. Our findings suggest that such calls could be driven by short-term gains in export performance. Furthermore, we would also emphasize the need to routinely capture information from experienced export managers to ensure that it is considered in future decisions about design changes.


Tsinopoulos, C., Lages, L., & Sousa, C. (2014). Export experience counts: Exploring its effect on product design change. R&D Management, 44(5), 450-465.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Jul 2, 2019
Publication Date Nov 1, 2014
Deposit Date May 13, 2014
Publicly Available Date Jul 2, 2016
Journal R and D Management
Print ISSN 0033-6807
Electronic ISSN 1467-9310
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 44
Issue 5
Pages 450-465
Keywords Product design change, Export performance, Management experience.
Public URL


Accepted Journal Article (607 Kb)

Copyright Statement
This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Tsinopoulos, C., Lages, L. F. and Sousa, C. M. P. (2014), Export experience counts: exploring its effect on product design change. R&D Management., 44 (5): 450-465 which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.

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