Firm performance, market development, product development, competitive strategy.


The aim of this study is to examine the mediating effect of competitive strategy on the relationship between growth level strategies, and firm performance. Data was compiled from the manufacturing based SMEs operating in the North-West region of Nigeria, using cross-sectional research design. This study adopted cluster sampling and randomly selected 453 respondents and questionnaires were proportionately distributed and collected through personally administered method. PLS-SEM was used to test the hypotheses. The results found positive impact to both market development and product development on the SME performance.  It is expected that market development and product development will improve the competitive advantage and enhance performance of manufacturing based SMEs. The study found that competitive strategy empirically mediates the relationship between the strategic growth of manufacturing based SMEs and performance. Therefore, the findings of this study contribute to the literature and practice of SMEs owners-managers, policy makers, and researcher with better understanding on the role of competitive strategy in mediating the relationship between growth strategies and firm performance.  The study also assessed the effect size, as well as the predictive relevance.  Finally, limitations and suggested for further studies were represented.

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