SMEs and Exogenous Shocks: A Conceptual Literature Review and Future Research Agenda

Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Miklian, Jason & Kristian Hoelscher (2021) SMEs and Exogenous Shocks: A Conceptual Literature Review and Future Research Agenda, International Small Business Journal.

​Forthcoming in ISBJ


Economic crises, natural disasters, armed conflict and infectious disease outbreaks, amongst others, present interlinked challenges for small businesses, and have generated a recent wealth of research across varied fields. Therefore, this article outlines an analytical lens suggesting how SMEs experience shocks and crises that focuses on the interlinked nature of (i) the business, (ii) the shock and (iii) the response within a given context. We thematically draw out key trends, knowledge gaps and tensions and highlight promising research and engagement avenues for future scholarship and practice. We contextualise: (i) how small businesses are distinct from large firms in how they experience shock events; (ii) how different types of crises generated by exogenous shocks impact small business; (iii) how shocks and crises shape SME-specific responses; and (iv) how the COVID-19 pandemic as a ‘novel exogenous shock’ influences all of the above. We conclude by emphasizing emerging knowledge avenues for future small business, shock and crisis research.