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Do business strategies affect firms' survival during the COVID-19 pandemic? A global perspective

Mohammad Monirul Islam (Department of International Business, University of Dhaka, Dhaka, Bangladesh)
Farha Fatema (Department of International Business, University of Dhaka, Dhaka, Bangladesh)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 3 January 2023

69

Abstract

Purpose

This study examines the survival probability of the firms during the COVID-19 pandemic and identifies the effects of pandemic-era business strategies on firm survival across sectors and sizes.

Design/methodology/approach

This study combines World Bank Enterprise Survey data with three consecutive follow-up COVID-19 survey data. The COVID-19 surveys are the follow-up surveys of WBES, and they are done at different points of time during the pandemic. Both WBES and COVID-19 surveys follow the same sampling methods, and the data are merged based on the unique id number of the firms. The data covers 12,551 firms from 21 countries in different regions such as Africa, Latin America, Central Asia and the Middle East. The study applies Kaplan–Meier estimate to analyze the survival probability of the firms across sectors and sizes. The study then uses Cox non-parametric regression model to identify the effect of business strategies on the survival of the firms during the pandemic. The robustness of the Cox model is checked using the multilevel parametric regression model.

Findings

The study's findings suggest that a firm's survival probability decreases during the pandemic era. Manufacturing firms have a higher survival probability than service firms, whereas SMEs have a higher survival probability than large firms. During the pandemic period, business strategies significantly boost the probability of firm survival, and their impacts differ among firm sectors and sizes. Several firm-specific factors affect firm survival in different magnitudes and signs. Except in a few cases, the findings also indicate that one strategy positively moderates the influence of another strategy on firm survival during a pandemic.

Originality/value

COVID-19 pandemic has drastically affected the business across the globe. Firms adopted new business processes and strategies to face the challenges created by the pandemic. The critical research question is whether these pandemic-era business strategies ensure firms' survival. This study attempts to identify the effects of these business strategies on firms' survival, focusing on a comprehensive firm-level data set that includes firms from different sectors and sizes of countries from various regions.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors are thankful to the Editor-in-chief and the anonymous peer reviewers for their comments on the paper. The authors did not receive any funding for this research project.

Citation

Islam, M.M. and Fatema, F. (2023), "Do business strategies affect firms' survival during the COVID-19 pandemic? A global perspective", Management Decision, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/MD-11-2021-1456

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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