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Special Issue - Call for Papers
Resilience and Competitiveness of SMEs
Guest Editors
George Lodorfos, Leeds Beckett University, G.Lodorfos@leedsbeckett.ac.uk
Anastasia Konstantopoulou, Edge Hill University, Anastasia.Konstantopoulou@edgehill.ac.uk
Agyenim Boateng, Glasgow Caledonian University, Agyenim.Boateng@gcu.ac.uk
Junjie Wu, Leeds Beckett University, J.Wu@leedsbeckett.ac.uk
Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), make up a large segment of the private sector worldwide,
making them the backbone of the economy (Rahman et al., 2017, Muller et. al., 2016; Poon and
Swatman 1999; Cull et al., 2006; Ozgulbas et al., 2006; Beck and Demirguc, 2006; Beck et al., 2009),
playing an important role in productivity and innovation (Coleman and Robb, 2009; Bridge and O’Neill,
2013), and competition (Sarri and Trihopoulou, 2005; Bridge and O’Neill, 2013). Systematic research
evidence suggests that SMEs do not only encourage entrepreneurship, innovation and create
employment but reduce poverty which leads to social stability and economic development (Boateng
and Abdulahman, 2013). Hence, they are regarded as the preferred vehicle for the regeneration and
development of economies (Devins et al. 2016.; Gavron et al., 1998; Carr, 2000; Beaver and Carr, 2002;
Stanworth and Gray, 1991) and for the enhancement of a country’s competitiveness (Dobbs and
Hamilton, 2007).
SMEs play a vital role in the economy and society, not just because of their ability to innovate and the
fact that their performance affects a large degree of the country’s economic growth industrial output,
export and GDP, but due to the large number of people they employ and jobs created (Singh et al.
2008; Aziz and Mahmood, 2011; Ahmad and Xavier, 2012; Muller et.al., 2016; Badulescu, 2010;
Cunningham, 2011; Watson, 2011; Neumark et al., 2011; Wu and Chua, 2012). In this context, it is not
surprising that they are essential for the establishment of a solid industrial base and the innovation
that facilitates industrialisation (Dickson and Weaver, 2008; Smallbone et al., 2010; Arando et al.,
Despite the vital role played by SMEs in social-economic development of both developed and
developing counties, Scholars such as Levy (1993); Mead and Liedholm (1998); Berger and Udell 2002)
point out that SMEs are also beset with problems which impede their growth. According to Conz et al.
(2015), SMEs face new challenges in their mission to be successful in an increasingly complex
operating environment, within which they encounter unpredictable events at the economic, social
and institutional levels. SMEs regularly face new challenges - with reference to cost, quality, delivery,
flexibility and human resource development - to their survival and growth in the context of a dynamic
business environment. Changes in the business, economic and political environment, organisational
changes, and unexpected events can occur at any time, testing SMEs' capacity to respond to these to
the firm’s advantage (Conz et al., 2015). Evidence is emerging that successful organisations have to
balance the “hard” and “soft” aspects of their business (Dulewicz and Higgs, 2003).
Therefore, there is a growing mandate to create SMEs which have the capacity to survive, adapt and
even grow in the face of turbulent change and an unpredictable environment. In order to build
sustainable SMEs, resilience as a concept becomes critical (Ates and Bititci 2011; Sheffi 2005, 2006).
There are a number of important drivers and determinants in the evolution towards resilient,
sustainable enterprises, ranging from SMEs’ organisational behaviour and characteristics (Moore and
Manring, 2009) to factors such as changing market trends, changing technologies and emerging new
management and organisational techniques (Gunasekaran et al., 2011) .
Mafabi et al. (2015) define organisational resilience as the organisation’s ability to cope with change
through continuous renewal of business operations. Resilience of SMEs, according to Egbu et al.
(2005), requires knowledge retention through a flexible workforce, strategic managerial thinking, top
management support and technology. They need to be proactive in knowledge-sharing arrangements
to recognise that knowledge has value and the value added is derived from knowledge exchange (Egbu
et al., 2005). Some studies have, with limited empirical support, revealed that a creative environment
can be associated with organisational resilience as mediated by innovation. Successful innovation
diffusion can lead to resilience behaviours, such as adaptation, competitiveness and value (Mafabi et
al., 2015).
Studies on the resilience of SMEs have increased in recent years, but according to Conz et al. (2015),
several gaps in understanding remain, especially in terms of the perspective that considers which
determinants influence the resilience of organisations.
Against this background, the International Journal of Organizational Analysis announces a special issue
that aims to bring together leading research on the determinants of resilience and competitiveness of
SMEs, focussing on both internal and external factors that may affect SMEs' sustainability and growth.
Objectives and Scope of the Special Issue:
The purpose of this special issue is to gather empirical, meta-analytical, review, and theoretical
research which provides a significant contribution to the understanding of the determinants of
resilience and competitiveness in SMEs.
We encourage the submission of research from a range of different methodological approaches on
SMEs’ competitiveness and resilience, involving internal and external factors, different levels of
organisational analysis or cross-disciplinary perspectives. In this vein, we invite contributions from the
organisational analysis perspective, and encourage submissions that address resilience, or
competiveness of SMEs in various contexts and settings.
The special issue seeks both theoretical submissions that serve as a stepping-stone for empirical work,
and theoretically-informed empirical work following the normal standards of IJOA. Empirical insights
might be derived from a number of methodologies, including but not limited to survey research, case
studies, action research, event studies, interviews, or experiments.
We welcome contributions in topic areas that include, but are not limited to:
Shaping and conceptualising the concept of resilience in SMEs;
Assessing the determinants of resilience in SMEs;
Linking resilience to other concepts, such as sustainability, agility and competitiveness;
Studies into the effects of specific disruptions to SMEs’ environment, e.g. economic crises or
the recent ‘Brexit’, and/or particular business strategies.
Studying SMEs' resilience and competitiveness in specific contexts, for example, in developing
countries, or among family-owned businesses;
Cross-disciplinary research, e.g. in relation to employer branding, organisational behaviour,
access to finance, knowledge management, etc.
Submissions to IJOA are made using ScholarOne Manuscripts, the online submission and peer review
Initial submissions for the special issue must be received between DATE 8/1/2018 and DATE
26/2/2018. Authors should designate their manuscript for this Special Issue (select “Special Issue” as
the manuscript type when submitting.) Submissions should be accompanied by an assurance of
originality and exclusivity and should adhere to the manuscript guidelines for authors that can be
found on the journal’s website.
If you have questions or suggestions regarding manuscripts, please direct them to the lead guest
editor, Professor George Lodorfos at g.lodorfos@leedsbeckett.ac.uk.
All submissions will be subject to a rigorous double-blind peer review process, with one or more of
the guest editors acting as action editor.
Ahmad, Z. S. and Xavier, R. S. (2012), ‘Entrepreneurial environments and growth: evidence from
Malaysia GEM data’, Journal of Chinese Entrepreneurship, Vol. 4 No.1, pp.50 – 269.
Gunasekaran, A., Rai, B. K., and Griffin, M. (2011) Resilience and competitiveness of small and medium
size enterprises: an empirical research, International Journal of Production Research, 49:18, 54895509.
Arando, S., Peña, I., and Verheul, I. (2009). ‘Market entry of firms with different legal forms: an
empirical test of the influence of institutional factors’, International Entrepreneurship and
Management Journal, Vol.5 No.1 pp77-95.
Ates, A. and Bititci, U. (2011). Change process: a key enabler for building resilient SMEs, International
Journal of Production Research, 49:18, 5601-5618, DOI: 10.1080/00207543.2011.563825
Aziz, A. S. and Mahmood, R. (2011). ‘The relationship between business model and performance of
manufacturing small and medium enterprises in Malaysia’, African Journal of Business
Management, Vol. 5, No. 22, pp.8918–8932.
Badulescu, D. (2010). SMEs financing: the extent of need and response of different credit structures.
Theoretical and Applied Economics, Vol. 7(548), pp. 25-36.
Beaver, G. and Carr, P. (2002). ‘The enterprise culture: understanding a misunderstood concept’,
Journal of Strategic Change, March–April, Vol. 11, No. 2, pp105–113.
Beck, T. and Demirguc-Kunt, A. (2006). Small and medium enterprises: access to finance as a growth
constraints. Journal of Banking and Finance, Vol. 30 (11), pp. 2931-2943.
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Berger, A.N. and Udell, G.F. (2002). Small Business Credit Availability and Relationship lending: The
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Boateng, A and Abdulrahman, M.D. (2013). Micro Small-sized Enterprises and Bank Credit: Evidence
from West Africa, Journal of Emerging Market Finance, 12, 2, 129-150.
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Coleman, S. and Robb, A. (2009). A comparison of new firm financing by gender: evidence from the
Kauffman firm survey data. Small Business Economics, Vol. 33(4), pp. 397-411.
Conz, E., Denicolai, S., and Zucchella, A. (2017). "The resilience strategies of SMEs in mature clusters",
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pp.186-210, https://doi.org/10.1108/JEC-02-2015-0015.
Cull, R. (2006). Historical financing of small- and medium-size enterprises. Journal of Banking and
Finance, 30(11): 3017–3042.
Cunningham, L. X. (2011). SMEs as motors of growth: A review of China’s SMEs development in thirty
years (1978-2008). Human Systems Management, Vol. 30 (1, 2), pp. 39-54.
Devins, D., Lodorfos, G., Kostopoulos, I., Webber, D. (2016). Innovation and Growth in the City Region:
Microeconomic Evidence of Asymmetries. International Journal of Innovation Management
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orientation towards entrepreneurial behaviour’, International Entrepreneurship Management
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Dulewicz, V., and Higgs, M., (2003). “Leadership at the top: the need for emotional intelligence in
Organisations”, International Journal of Organisational Analysis, 11(3): 193.
Egbu, C. O., Hari, S., and Renukappa, S. H. (2005). Knowledge management for sustainable
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Gavron, R., Cowling, M., Holtham, G., and Westall, A. (1998), The Entrepreneurial Society, Institute for
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assessment, World Bank Economic Review, 7, 1, 65-83.
Mafabi, S., Munene, S. M., and Ahiauzu, A. (2015). Creative climate and organisational resilience: the
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Mead, D. and Liedholm, C. (1998). The Dynamics of Micro and Small Enterprises in Developing
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Moore, S. B. and Manring, S. L., (2009). Strategy development in small and medium sized enterprises
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Sarri, K. and Trihopoulou, A. (2005). Female entrepreneurs’ personal characteristics and motivation: a
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Smallbone, D., Welter, F., Voytovich, A. and Egorov, I. (2010). ‘Government and entrepreneurship in
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