A typology of emerging market SMEs Covid-19 response strategies: The Role of TMT and Organisational Design

Pushyarag Puthusserry, Timothy King, Kristel Miller, Zaheer Khan* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
15 Downloads (Pure)


The unique challenges posed by COVID-19 calls for new understanding as how firms respond to a multiheaded and multistage evolving global crises. Although prior research acknowledges the potential roles of flexible organizational designs and top management teams (TMTs) for crisis management, these bodies of literature have evolved separately with limited cross- fertilization. In this study, we seek to provide contextualised explanation by drawing upon from multiple layers of environmental and research context—namely Covid-19 (environmental) and emerging market—Indian digital SMEs. Drawing on these contextualized explanations, our findings provide vital insights into how emerging market, Indian SMEs’ organizational designs and TMT configurations led to differential Covid-19 crisis response strategies. We develop a typology which identifies four strategic response strategies, and illustrate that not all emerging market SMEs are vulnerable at time of crisis. Our findings extend knowledge on how emerging market SMEs can navigate external shocks such as those caused by Covid-19. In particular, our research has implications for policy makers and emerging markets’ firms seeking to understand and implement effective organizational designs and policies that can weather the current COVID-19 pandemic as well as future multiheaded and multistage black swan crises in the future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)603-633
Number of pages31
JournalBritish Journal of Management
Issue number2
Early online date16 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Open access via UoA Wiley agreement


  • COVID-19
  • SMEs
  • emerging markets
  • strategic response to crisis
  • top management teams
  • board capital
  • organizational design


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