How entrepreneurial resilience generates resilient SMEs

Layla Jayne Branicki, Bridgette Sullivan-Taylor, Sarah Rachael Livschitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate how entrepreneurial behaviors support small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) resilience, refine the concept of entrepreneurial resilience, and identify how SME resilience might be promoted. Design/methodology/approach: Qualitative data were collected in the UK via 11 focus groups which provided a sub-sample of 19 SME participants. Findings: Because of their experience operating in uncertain environments, their direct experience of adversity, and the informal organizational settings they inhabit, entrepreneurs are often highly resilient and possess capabilities that enable SMEs to be resilient. Entrepreneurial resilience provides a basis for SME resilience that differs significantly from best practices as understood in larger firms. Research limitations/implications: Exploratory qualitative research on a small sample (n=19) limits the generalizability of this work. Further research could quantitatively test the paper’s findings and/or examine the link between entrepreneurial resilience and the resilience of larger firms. Practical implications: Rather than encouraging formal planning and redundancy, policy and practice designed to promote the resilience of SMEs should pay greater attention to building capacities to cope with uncertainty, generating and leveraging personal relationships, and activating the ability to experiment and think creatively in response to crises. Originality/value: This paper draws on organizational psychology research to refine understanding of entrepreneurial resilience and to empirically examine and inductively theorize the multi-level relationships between entrepreneurial resilience and SME resilience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1244-1263
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research
Issue number7
Early online date15 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - 9 Nov 2018


  • SME
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Organizational resilience
  • Entrepreneurial resilience

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