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Resilience and competitiveness of SMEs
Welcome to issue 27 (2), January 2019, which is a special issue on “Resilience and competitiveness of SMEs”. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) play a vital role in the economy and society, not just because of their ability to innovate and the fact that their performance affects a large degree of the country’s economic growth, industrial output, export and GDP but also because of the large number of people they employ and the jobs created that reduce poverty, which leads to social stability and economic development (Boateng and Abdulrahman, 2013; Singh et al., 2008; Aziz and Mahmood, 2011; Ahmad and Xavier, 2012; Muller et al., 2016; Badulescu, 2010; Cunningham, 2011; Watson, 2011; Neumark et al., 2011; Wu and Chua, 2012).
In spite of the vital role played by SMEs in social–economic development of both developed and developing countries, scholars, such as Levy (1993), Mead and Liedholm (1998); Berger and Udell, 2002), point out that SMEs are also beset with problems which impede their growth. According to Conz et al. (2017), SMEs face new challenges in their mission to be successful in an increasingly complex operating environment, within which they encounter unpredictable events at the economic, social and institutional levels, testing SMEs’ capacity to respond to these to the firm’s advantage (Conz et al., 2017). Therefore, there is a growing mandate to create SMEs which have the capacity to survive, adapt and even grow in the face of turbulent change and an unpredictable environment, and this is where resilience as a concept becomes critical (Ates and Bititci, 2011; Sheffi, 2005, 2006).
There are a number of important drivers and determinants in the evolution towards resilient, sustainable enterprises, ranging from SMEs’ organisational behaviour and characteristics (Moore and Manring, 2009) to factors such as changing market trends, changing technologies and emerging new management and organisational techniques (Gunasekaran et al., 2011). Similarly, there are a number of different major areas of strategy development adopted by SMEs aiming to improve their competitive position in domestic and global markets (Singh et al., 2008). Therefore, this special issue brings together research on the determinants of resilience and competitiveness of SMEs, focussing on both internal and external factors that may affect SMEs’ sustainability and growth.
The first article by Mahfuzur Rahman and John Mendy is a good place to begin this special issue, as the authors evaluate people-related resilience and non-resilience barriers of SMEs’ internationalisation from a developing country’s perspective. The authors combine resilience and non-resilience factors in a model to evaluate their contribution, especially in the under explored area of non-resilience from a developing-country-contextual perspective that seeks to encourage international entrepreneurship. The results reveal that both resilience- and non-resilience-related barriers are significant to SMEs’ internationalisation and therefore international entrepreneurship.
In the next article, Naznin Tabassum, Sujana Shafique, Anastasia Konstantopoulou and Ahmad Arslan provide a framework with the antecedents of women managers’ resilience in SMEs. In addition to the framework, the authors highlight a number of practical implications leading to a resilience toolkit for HR managers of organisations aiming to develop and promote resilience in their women managers and aspiring managers. Then Tony Wall and Lawrence Bellamy explore the owner–manager resources for resilience in his article.
In the article that follows, Pedro Pablo Cardoso Castro analysed the potential of the Viable System Model compared to conventional management tools as a framework to guide organisational adaptive response and resilience in times of instability and change in complex environments. Then, in their article Ioannis Rizomyliotis, Anastasia Konstantopoulou, Kleopatra Konstantoulaki andRaghad Badahdah focus on ways of improving SMEs’ competitiveness, with the use of Instagram influencer advertising and electronic word of mouth.
Finally, the last two articles of the special issue look at different determinants of SMEs’ business success and the strategy-formation process. Robert Kozielski is looking at the determinants of SMEs’ success, based on a comparative analysis between SMEs and large companies, and provides insights into the ability of SMEs to cope with competitors on the increasingly competitive market and their ability to build long-term success. Then, Lawrence Bellamy, Nii Amoo, Kieran Mervyn and Jacqueline Hiddlestone-Mumford evaluate the use of the tools and techniques of strategy and strategic analysis within SMEs as part of the strategy formation process to positively influence success, when measured by growth.
Ahmad, Z.S. and Xavier, R.S. (2012), “Entrepreneurial environments and growth: evidence from Malaysia GEM data”, Journal of Chinese Entrepreneurship, Vol. 4 No. 1, pp. 50-269.
Ates, A. and Bititci, U. (2011), “Change process: a key enabler for building resilient SMEs”, International Journal of Production Research, Vol. 49 No. 18, pp. 5601-5618, doi: 10.1080/00207543.2011.563825.
Aziz, A.S. and Mahmood, R. (2011), “The relationship between business model and performance of manufacturing small and medium enterprises in Malaysia”, African Journal of Business Management, Vol. 5 No. 22, pp. 8918-8932.
Badulescu, D. (2010), “SMEs financing: the extent of need and response of different credit structures”, Theoretical and Applied Economics, Vol. 7 No. 548, pp. 25-36.
Berger, A.N. and Udell, G.F. (2002), “Small business credit availability and relationship lending: the impotance of bank organisation structure”, The Economic Journal, Vol. 112, pp. 32-53.
Boateng, A. and Abdulrahman, M.D. (2013), “Micro small-sized enterprises and bank credit: evidence from West Africa”, Journal of Emerging Market Finance, Vol. 12 No. 2, pp. 129-150.
Conz, E., Denicolai, S. and Zucchella, A. (2017), “The resilience strategies of SMEs in mature clusters”, Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy, Vol. 11 No. 1, pp. 186-210, available at: https://doi.org/10.1108/JEC-02-2015-0015
Cunningham, L.X. (2011), “SMEs as motors of growth: a review of China’s SMEs development in thirty years (1978-2008)”, Human Systems Management, Vol. 30 Nos 1/2, pp. 39-54.
Gunasekaran, A., Rai, B.K. and Griffin, M. (2011), “Resilience and competitiveness of small and medium size enterprises: an empirical research”, International Journal of Production Research, Vol. 49 No. 18, pp. 5489-5509.
Levy, B. (1993), “Obstacles to developing indigenous small and medium enterprises: an empirical assessment”, The World Bank Economic Review, Vol. 7 No. 1, pp. 65-83.
Mead, D. and Liedholm, C. (1998), “The dynamics of micro and small enterprises in developing countries”, World Development, Vol. 26 No. 1, pp. 61-74.
Moore, S.B. and Manring, S.L. (2009), “Strategy development in small and medium sized enterprises for sustainability and increased value creation”, Journal of Cleaner Production, Vol. 17 No. 2, pp. 276-282.
Muller, P., Devnani, S., Julius, J., Gagliardi, D. and Marzocchi, C. (2016), “Annual Report on European SMEs 2015/2016. SME recovery continues”, SME Performance Review 2015/2016. European Commission, EASME/COSME/2015/012.
Neumark, D., Wall, B. and Zhang, J. (2011), “Do small businesses create more jobs? New evidence for the United States from the national establishment times series”, The Review of Economics and Statistics, Vol. 93 No. 1, pp. 16-29.
Sheffi, Y. (2005), The Resilient Enterprise: Overcoming Vulnerability for Competitive Advantage, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.
Sheffi, Y. (2006), “Resilience reduces risk”, Logistics Quarterly, Vol. 12 No. 1, pp. 12-14.
Singh, R.K., Garg, S.K. and Deshmukh, S.G. (2008), “Challenges and strategies for competitiveness of SMEs: a case study in the Indian context”, International Journal of Services and Operations Management, Vol. 4 No. 2, pp. 181-200.
Watson, J. (2011), “Networking: gender differences and the association with firm performance”, International Small Business Journal: Researching Entrepreneurship, Vol. 30 No. 5, pp. 536-558.
Wu, Z. and Chua, J.H. (2012), “Second-order gender effects: the case of US small business borrowing cost”, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, Vol. 36 No. 3, pp. 443-463.
I would like to thank the authors for choosing IJOA to disseminate their work. I would also like to express my gratitude to the reviewers and the members of the editorial team for their help and support with producing this issue.