Antecedents of organizational resilience in economic crisis - an empirical study of Swedish textile and clothing SMEs


Economic recessions have created challenges for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and contributed to disruptions requiring the SME to be resilient. At times of economic crises, SMEs face major threats to their financial performance and ultimately to their survival. The average number of Swedish textile and clothing (T&C) firms that went bankrupt during the recent crisis (2007-09) escalated twofold compared to the average over 2000-10. Following the 1990's economic crisis nearly 12% of the T&C companies went bankrupt in 1994-95. The structural industrial statistics also plummeted in these crisis years, aggravating other inherent or internal/day-to-day problems as a 'ripple effect'.

In this study we concentrate on what problems the Swedish T&C SMEs, predominantly, faced amidst the economic crises of 1990-93 and 2007-09. Moreover, we aim at finding how firms deal with the disruptions and what factors are critical in contributing to firms' resilient economic performance. The overall objective is to deepen the understanding of underlying patterns favouring resilience development in T&C SMEs.

The paper adopts an exploratory survey-based research, responded to by about ten Swedish T&C SMEs. Annual reports provide a detailed account of the financial performances of these companies. A conceptual framework was developed earlier, based on a review of extant literature.

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"This article was originally presented at the 88th Textile Institute World Conference Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia, May, 2012".