Fortune favours the digitally mature: The impact of digital maturity on the organisational resilience of SME retailers during COVID-19 (2022)
Purpose Organisational resilience and digital maturity both explain how some organisations are better able to cope with unexpected disruptions. However, research exploring the relationship between these two concepts, and their role in addressing exogenous shocks, remains sparse. This study first aimed to compare digitally mature SME retailers’ organisational resilience with that of digitally less mature SME retailers, and then investigate further how their digital maturity impacted their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Design/methodology/approach We adopt an explanatory two-phase mixed-method research design, with online surveys from 79 SME retailers in South Africa, followed by interviews. Findings Digitally mature SMEs exhibited higher levels of organisational resilience, specifically with respect to situational awareness, management of keystone vulnerabilities and adaptive capacity. We also demonstrate that digital leadership is a greater driver of organisational resilience than digital capabilities. Originality This paper makes a case for SME retailers to focus on building their digital maturity to better cope with and learn from unexpected events. In particular, digital maturity is positively associated with SME retailers’ innovation and creativity, and their devolved and responsive decision-making. Practical Implications We suggest ways for SME retailers to develop their digital maturity, particularly their digital leadership, to increase their organisational resilience.
CitationRobertson J, Botha E, Walker B, Wordsworth R, Balzarova M (2022). Fortune favours the digitally mature: The impact of digital maturity on the organisational resilience of SME retailers during COVID-19. International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management.
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Keywordsorganisational resilience; digital maturity; digital capabilities; digital leadership; retail; small and medium-sized enterprises; SME
ANZSRC Fields of Research35 - Commerce, management, tourism and services::3507 - Strategy, management and organisational behaviour::350716 - Small business organisation and management
35 - Commerce, management, tourism and services::3504 - Commercial services::350404 - Retail
35 - Commerce, management, tourism and services::3506 - Marketing::350607 - Marketing technology
35 - Commerce, management, tourism and services::3503 - Business systems in context::350307 - Technology management
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