The Impact of Industry Forces on International SME Performance in Iran: The Mediating Effect of Competitive Advantage

Shahab Sharfaei, Jeen Wei Ong, Adedapo O. Ojo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
10 Downloads (Pure)


International small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) encounter several problems, including how to manage the industry forces in order to achieve their performance goals. Focusing mainly on international SMEs, we explored this issue by examining competitive advantage as a mediator in the relationship between industry forces and international SMEs’ performance. This study was conducted in the context of the Iranian market. Iran offers substantial economic opportunities to international SMEs since it has a population of 85 million people, a range of natural resources, and a sophisticated manufacturing industry. In Iran, an international SME is a firm with less than 100 employees that originated outside of Iran but has an entity inside the country. The partial least squares method was employed in analyzing the survey data collected from 166 international SMEs in Iran. The results indicate that industry forces have significant effects on performance, but competitive advantage does not have a mediating impact. The results of this study reaffirm that international SMEs should be aware of the consequences of industry forces in order to attain their performance goals. This is especially critical for some developing economies which are more characterized by ambiguities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number132
Number of pages16
JournalAdministrative Sciences
Issue number4
Early online date9 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (


  • industrial organization
  • SME performance
  • structural equation modelling
  • small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
  • developing economies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)


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