Quality standards and export performance of Tanzania food-based small and medium sized enterprises: conceptual model development
This paper seeks to determine a conceptual framework that could guide the examination of the influence of quality standards on export performance in Tanzania’s SMEs based on food industry. It is built on the premise that investment in the manufacturing and management of food products and its ensued processes that meet international standards have core contributions towards enhanced SMEs’ competitiveness in international markets. The paper specifically proposes a model to examine the influence of three constructs—food product quality, food quality management, and compliance costs—on export performance of SMEs. Through extensive review of empirical studies conducted in various parts of the globe and Tanzania, the paper provides guiding framework to determine the influence of various attributes within the three main constructs on export performance of SMEs. This is preceded by a theoretical perspective that stipulates the legal context on Tanzania food standards, particularly through the Fair Competition Act, No. 8 of 2003, and the Standards Act, No. 2 of 2009. Moreover, the study applies the enlightening theories of resource-based view (RBV), core competency theory, and quality attributes in the context of food-related SMEs competitiveness. Lastly, the paper recommends a conceptual framework to guide future researches in the area of quality standards and export performance of SMEs in the food industry in Tanzania.
Keywords: quality standards, international standards, export performance