How combinations of network participation, firm age and firm size explain SMEs' responses to COVID-19
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are important to the economy but vulnerable to changes in their environment. A current example of an exogenous shock threatening SMEs globally is the COVID-19 pandemic, and the firms’ responses to the crisis are essential to the prosperity of national economies in the future. The purpose of this paper is therefore to investigate how different antecedent factors may explain SMEs’ responses to COVID-19. This is done through an empirical study of 247 SMEs in Norway and the application of fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA), which enables a nuanced evaluation of how complex combinations of several co-existing factors can explain SMEs’ responses to crises. The results demonstrate how three types of crisis responses can be explained by combinations of SMEs’ participation in formal and informal networks, firm characteristics, such as firm size and firm age, and the negative impact of the crisis on the firm.