Academy of Strategic Management Journal (Print ISSN: 1544-1458; Online ISSN: 1939-6104)


Initial Empirical Evidence on How Jordanian Manufacturing SMEs Cope With the Covid-19 Pandemic

Author(s): Khalil Al-Hyari

This research aims to investigate the influence of the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Jordanian manufacturing sector. This study evaluates the state of various SMEs during the COVID 19 pandemic and improves insight as to what SMEs are experiencing and how they are managing to deal with it. Moreover, this research also includes data on firm size, layoffs, beliefs about the future business prospects, in addition to consciousness of current government relief programs. Exploratory qualitative research design based on 45 semi-structured interviews using a purposive sampling of managers, supervisors, and business owners of manufacturing SMEs in Jordan that are in different stages of the crisis.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an economic impact on the community and particularly on SMEs in manufacturing sector. The results showed that Jordanian SMEs have already been severely impacted by COVID-19-related disruptions. In fact, 67% have reported a drop in sales because of either a drop in demand or problems with logistics and supply chains. 49% of the enterprises in the study stated that they have laid-off some of their workers because of lockdown, and 47% stated that they assume recovery to take more than nine months, putting Jordanian SMEs at great risk. To combat the economic repercussions of this pandemic, an urgent and decisive action is needed. Therefore, the results of this research might help to formulate strategic decisions that concentrate on SME recovery and regrowth once the pandemic has subsided.

Our results show how SMEs are fighting to survive in the era of this pandemic by adjusting their business models to changing environmental circumstances in a short period of time. Thus, SME’s must initiate measures during the period of this pandemic by leading them to a tentative digitalization. Upto the author's knowledge, this is the first empirical study on how Jordanian Manufacturing SMEs cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. This research is expected to be a policy reference for governments, international organizations, and business organizations for dealing with the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to save SMEs. This research is focused on the manufacturing SMEs in Jordan during the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak with a policy of social distancing.

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