The impact of market uncertainty on international SME performance

Shahab Sharfaei, Jeen Wei Ong, Adedapo O. Ojo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
85 Downloads (Pure)


This research explores the performance of international small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Iran. Iran as the 18 th biggest market in the world, can potentially be an attractive market for firms. However, SMEs need to navigate the market uncertainty to achieve their performance goals. This study explores this issue by placing competitive advantage to mediate market uncertainty and international SMEs’ performance. A foreign SME in Iran is considered a company with 99 employees or less, and which was founded abroad but have an established branch within the country. We used the partial least square (PLS) method to analyse the data gathered from 166 foreign SMEs in Iran. The findings imply that market uncertainty significantly affects performance. Nevertheless, competitive advantage does not mediate the relationship. This study offers insights to international SMEs on how to leverage comprehensive knowledge on market uncertainty to enhance their performance in developing markets. The empirical findings from this research reaffirms the notion that international SMEs ought to be informed about the effects of uncertainty in order to achieve high performance. This is particularly important in developing markets which are more prone to ambiguity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2198160
Number of pages14
JournalCogent Business and Management
Issue number1
Early online date9 Apr 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


  • Market Uncertainty
  • Performance
  • SME
  • Competitive Advantage
  • Small and Medium-sized Enterprises
  • Differentiation Advantage
  • Cost Advantage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Accounting
  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Marketing


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