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Article
Publication date: 8 March 2021

Benjamin Fath, Antje Fiedler, Noemi Sinkovics, Rudolf R. Sinkovics and Bridgette Sullivan-Taylor

This paper aims to empirically investigate how small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have engaged with international network partners during COVID-19 and how the…

1601

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to empirically investigate how small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have engaged with international network partners during COVID-19 and how the crisis has changed network relationships and resilience depending on pre-COVID relationship strength and, secondarily, on opportunity outlook in a market.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper draws on 14 qualitative interviews with managers of New Zealand SMEs from diverse industries and four with industry experts. Rather than generalization, the aim of this exploratory paper is to identify contingency factors, which, under duress, strengthen or break business relationships.

Findings

Four main patterns emerge from the data, with respect to how SMEs engaged with network partners depending on the nature of their prepandemic relationships and the extent to which their markets had been affected by the pandemic. During crisis, weak ties either break or remain weak, forcing firms to create new, potentially opportunistic, relationships. Strong ties increase resilience, even under a negative outlook, as network partners support each other, including through the development of new ties. Strong ties can also accelerate business model transformation.

Research limitations/implications

Future large-scale research is needed to test the generalizability of the authors’ findings.

Practical implications

The findings of this paper indicate lessons for business continuation management and future preparedness for major disruptions. Specific insights may help stimulate managerial action to accelerate contingency planning and policy to support SMEs.

Originality/value

This paper is an early study on how weak and strong ties influence SME resilience during crisis.

Details

critical perspectives on international business, vol. 17 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1742-2043

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 14 March 2022

Benjamin Fath, Antje Fiedler, Noemi Sinkovics and Rudolf R. Sinkovics

The Covid-19 pandemic has quickly transformed the notions of crises and of living in a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) world into a lived experience

Abstract

The Covid-19 pandemic has quickly transformed the notions of crises and of living in a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) world into a lived experience. This chapter offers a perspective on how New Zealand businesses experienced and reacted to Covid-19 related management from a distance and with a mindset that was informed by the government’s focus on health and well-being and “being kind.” This exploratory findings from a sample of New Zealand exporters show that technology-supported management of digital distance and trust, infused with a partner-specific exhibition of empathy, fostered successful business relationships during these challenging times.

Details

International Business in Times of Crisis: Tribute Volume to Geoffrey Jones
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80262-164-8

Keywords

Content available
Book part
Publication date: 14 March 2022

Abstract

Details

International Business in Times of Crisis: Tribute Volume to Geoffrey Jones
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80262-164-8

Book part
Publication date: 14 March 2022

Rob van Tulder, Alain Verbeke, Lucia Piscitello and Jonas Puck

Crises are often studied in international business (IB) research as the external “context” for business strategies, but firms can also be active participants in the

Abstract

Crises are often studied in international business (IB) research as the external “context” for business strategies, but firms can also be active participants in the unfolding of crises. The study of crises in IB could benefit greatly from studying the role of multinational enterprises (MNEs) as active participants, rather than as mere passive actors, responding to exogenous events. History shows that IB crises typically unfold partially as exogenous processes, and partly as the result of MNE strategies. A multilevel and longitudinal approach to studying crises in IB is clearly necessary. This chapter considers the extent to which smaller events that preceded the present crisis – since 1989 – point to systemic problems in global governance. It also defines five overlapping lenses through which future IB studies can further create relevant insights on how to deal with crises: historic, macro, meso, micro and exogenous. The chapter finally serves as an introduction to the whole Progress in International Business Research volume by indicating the relevance of all parts and chapters that follow.

Details

International Business in Times of Crisis: Tribute Volume to Geoffrey Jones
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80262-164-8

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 6 May 2021

Christoph Dörrenbächer, Rudolf R. Sinkovics, Florian Becker-Ritterspach, Mehdi Boussebaa, Louise Curran, Alice de Jonge and Zaheer Khan

This viewpoint takes up the Covid-19 pandemic as a trigger for a research agenda around societally engaged international business (IB) research.

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Abstract

Purpose

This viewpoint takes up the Covid-19 pandemic as a trigger for a research agenda around societally engaged international business (IB) research.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is organized as a viewpoint. First, it provides an overview of Covid-19 research in business and management and IB in particular. Second, it introduces a societally engaged IB perspective, around poverty and human rights as well as trade.

Findings

The paper offers an annotated introduction to the paper contributions of the special issue with three clusters, “re-reading the crisis”, “crisis protectionism” and “firm strategies during the pandemic”.

Research limitations/implications

The paper points to future research opportunities in terms of crisis management and societally engaged IB research.

Practical implications

The Covid-19 crisis poses new questions for research on international business and its related disciplines. In particular, the political, economic and societal disruption which the pandemic has caused highlights the importance of addressing broader societal issues such as climate change, poverty and inequality through a purposeful and forward-looking research agenda.

Originality/value

The paper and the special issue are some of the first combined research outputs on the Covid-19 pandemic in international business.

Details

critical perspectives on international business, vol. 17 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1742-2043

Keywords

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