Business success in the Vietnamese logisitcs industry: The role of competencies and relationship quality among owners of small and medium enterprises

Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - ECU Access Only


Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Integrated)


School of Business and Law

First Supervisor

Pi-Shen Seet

Second Supervisor

Ferry Jie


This thesis investigates the links between core entrepreneurial competencies, relationship quality and business success among small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the logistics sector in Vietnam. A simultaneous mixed‐method approach was adopted.

The qualitative study involved individual in‐depth semi‐structured interviews with 39 Vietnamese logistics entrepreneurs. The objective was to identify specific behaviours that delineate core entrepreneurial competencies and relationship quality practices that were regarded important by the interviewees. Eleven entrepreneurial competency domains and five relationship quality practices domains were identified by thematic analysis of the qualitative data that were consistent with existing models. The competency domains were strategic, commitment, conceptual, opportunity, organising and leading, learning, personal, technical, ethical, social responsibility and familism. The relationship quality domains were relationship building, trust, use of formal institutions, use of social networks and establish personal rapport. Besides these, new behaviours and practices were also identified and added to the existing domains. These newly identified behaviours suggest that existing competency and relationship quality models can be improved to better reflect core entrepreneurial competencies and relationship quality measures in different contexts.

The quantitative study involved a survey among 316 entrepreneurs who completed a fivepart structured questionnaire using Likert scale measurements. This study tested the causal pathway between entrepreneurial competencies and business success and the mediation effect of relationship quality using a partial least square structural equation modelling procedure. The results showed that ethical and social responsibility competencies were strong predictors of business success for Vietnamese logistics entrepreneurs. However, the direct relationship between entrepreneurial competencies and functional competencies to business success were not significant. Rather, the results found that relationship quality successfully mediated the relationship between all three groups: entrepreneurial competencies, functional competencies, and ethical and social responsibility competencies with business success of logistics SMEs in Vietnam.

Overall, the study contributes to the existing body of knowledge by revealing a more nuanced picture of relationships that exist between core entrepreneurial competencies, relationship quality and business success factors. It also offers implications for entrepreneurs, policymakers and educators in terms of efforts to help SMEs.


Author also known as Vanessa Cao

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