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A shock to the system: entrepreneurial ecosystem resilience and adaptation in a global pandemic

Mark V. Cannice (School of Management, University of San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA)
Sun-Young Park (School of Management, University of San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA)
June Y. Lee (School of Management, University of San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA)

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development

ISSN: 1462-6004

Article publication date: 9 December 2022

42

Abstract

Purpose

This exploratory study uses a punctuated equilibrium paradigm (PEP) framework to examine the impact and adaptation of an entrepreneurial ecosystem (EE) to the COVID-19 pandemic at the organizational and ecosystem level. The aim is to provide guidance to EEs on ways to adapt to future external shocks.

Design/methodology/approach

As this study is exploratory in nature, the authors use a sequential mixed method whereby a qualitative method is used first to identify emergent themes from in-depth interviews with EE members, followed by a quantitative method (survey) based on those themes across a broader cross section of EE members.

Findings

Entrepreneurial ecosystem’s geographical advantages have declined during the pandemic as EE firms adapted to this external shock by developing more digitally distributed organizations.

Research limitations/implications

Based on the findings, the authors propose an emerging model of EEs that extends the traditional clustering model focused on geography to account for more digitally distributed entrepreneurial clusters. However, the results, based on an in-depth study of one ecosystem, may not be fully generalizable to all EEs.

Practical implications

Given the widespread pandemic impact, the findings may be instructive to EEs and organizations in EEs that aim to become more resilient in the face of potential future external shocks.

Social implications

As part of the qualitative interview process the interviewees were asked what they would change in San Francisco Bay Area if they had a magic wand right now. They discussed a variety of inspiring ideas, but the most frequently mentioned was their wish to change the focus of business to solve societal problems with a global citizen mindset (e.g. recycling energy, climate change, income inequality, access to education and funding, inequity, wealth gaps, housing crisis and homelessness) to make the world a better place. Additionally, the pandemic exposed some inequality in work conditions across demographics. As firms reorganize to increase resiliency, attention to these issues should be addressed.

Originality/value

This study is unique in applying the PEP to EEs to deepen our understanding about how an EE evolves during periods of sudden external shocks.

Keywords

Citation

Cannice, M.V., Park, S.-Y. and Lee, J.Y. (2022), "A shock to the system: entrepreneurial ecosystem resilience and adaptation in a global pandemic", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSBED-04-2022-0197

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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