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The Tunisian textile industry: local responses to internationalisation.

Anderson, Alistair R.; El Harbi, Sana; Brahem, Meriam


Alistair R. Anderson

Sana El Harbi

Meriam Brahem


The continuing internationalisation of the textile industry has reduced the labour cost advantages of Tunisian clothing firms. These firms have a precarious position in the international value chain, often as subcontractors and only rarely contributing high value inputs. To remain viable in the hyper competition wrought by internationalisation, firms must cut costs further or adopt an entrepreneurial approach. We examined 103 small Tunisian textile firms to find how they have responded to international competitive pressures. Our conceptual framework is entrepreneurial orientation. Employing multiple correspondence analysis and typological analysis, we identify clusters of approaches. Our typology shows three distinctive types: innovators, potentially innovative, passive imitators and a further ambiguous group. Our results show that different small firms have responded in different ways to the threats and opportunities of globalisation. However, many Tunisian firms have improved their position in the international supply chain by innovation strategies, rather than simply focusing on cost reduction.


ANDERSON, A.R., EL HARBI, S.E. and BRAHEM, M. 2012. The Tunisian textile industry: local responses to internationalisation. European journal of international management [online], 6(5), pages 525-541. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 31, 2012
Online Publication Date Oct 31, 2012
Publication Date Dec 31, 2012
Deposit Date Apr 16, 2013
Publicly Available Date Apr 16, 2013
Journal European journal of international management
Print ISSN 1751-6757
Electronic ISSN 1751-6765
Publisher Inderscience
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 6
Issue 5
Pages 525-541
Keywords Internationalisation; Textiles; Entrepreneurial orientation; Innovation; Cluster analysis; Typology; Multiple component analysis; MCA; Tunisia; International value chains; SMEs; Small and medium sized enterprises; Textile industry; Clothing firms; Garment
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