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The resilient retail entrepreneur: dynamic capabilities for facing natural disasters

Elisa Martinelli (Department of Economics Marco Biagi, Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy)
Giulia Tagliazucchi (Department of Economics Marco Biagi, Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy)
Gianluca Marchi (Department of Economics Marco Biagi, Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy)

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research

ISSN: 1355-2554

Article publication date: 6 March 2018

Issue publication date: 5 November 2018

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the formative dimensions of organizational resilience – namely dynamic capabilities (DCs) and social capital – displayed by retail entrepreneurs in the face of natural disasters (i.e. the 2012 Emilia earthquake). The paper evaluates social capital and the various types of DCs that support small entrepreneurs’ resilience during three temporal units of analysis: before the earthquake, during the emergency period, and during the recovery process.

Design/methodology/approach

The study was performed by applying a qualitative approach based on two focus groups and a double set of semi-structured interviews administered to a sample of eight small retail entrepreneurs hit by the 2012 Emilia earthquake. Content analysis was then applied.

Findings

The findings show that DCs and social capital are instrumental to enhancing organizational resilience; moreover the contribution of each category of DCs (reconfiguration, leveraging, sensing and interpreting, learning and knowledge integration) and social capital to entrepreneurs’ resilience changes according to the temporal phase of the natural disaster under analysis.

Research limitations/implications

This study will provide small retailer entrepreneurs and public authorities with useful insights on how DCs and social capital can practically support recovery paths at different times in the occurrence of a natural disaster.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the scientific debate on organizational resilience in disaster management, studying it through the lens of DCs and social capital, and analyzing the role of different types of DCs in developing entrepreneurs’ resilience during the various periods of a natural disaster. Moreover, it contributes by applying the concepts of resilience and DCs to a poorly investigated entrepreneurial context such as the retail one.

Keywords

Citation

Martinelli, E., Tagliazucchi, G. and Marchi, G. (2018), "The resilient retail entrepreneur: dynamic capabilities for facing natural disasters", International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, Vol. 24 No. 7, pp. 1222-1243. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEBR-11-2016-0386

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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