“We’re going to be the last ones standing” a qualitative insight into the organizational resilience of small and micro tourism enterprises facing COVID-19. (2021)
Type of ContentTheses / Dissertations
Degree NameMaster of Science
PublisherUniversity of Canterbury
Purpose: To understand organizational resilience from the perspective of small-to- medium enterprise (SME) business owners and operators in the tourism sector, in relation to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Approach: First-hand qualitative information was gathered from 10 such businesses through semi-structured interviews. Thematic analysis of their responses gave insight into which aspects of pre-existing organizational resilience frameworks are applicable, and which are impracticable.
Findings: Recommendations for overcoming barriers to resilience have been generated, with specific relevance to the experience of SMEs in tourism. These recommendations highlight seven specific activities/capabilities and eight specific characteristics that can build SME resilience – such as network capability, staff engagement and empowerment, and creativity.
Research Implications: Findings demonstrate that SMEs have both restricted resources and enhanced flexibility, which make them significantly different to the larger organizations that tend to be the focus of organizational resilience research. Having established these differences, further quantiative research is warranted, to build upon the qualitiative foundations outlined here.
Practical Implications: Tourism SMEs can take guidance from the new model of resilience presented in this paper, in place of previous models that do not account for their unique operating contexts, to better prepare themselves for future adversities.
Originality: This is the first qualitative study of SME resilience in the context of COVID-19, specific to the tourism sector of Canterbury New Zealand.