Purpose – The authors’ aim is to investigate if entrepreneurial orientation (EO) has a role in interpreting an external crisis, such as COVID-19, as an opportunity for investing in digital transformation. Design/methodology/approach – The authors undertook multiple case study research on the digital transformation of seven “Made in Italy” SMEs and proposed a conceptual framework that sees an external stimulus (e.g. the pandemic) as a driver of the digitalisation, filtered by the entrepreneurial orientation of SMEs. Findings – The authors’ results show how EO deals with the changing environment and helps address the market opportunities related to digitalisation. Research limitations/implications – This study contributes to the existing literature on EO and digital transformation of SMEs, creating a new model for forthcoming studies on this topic. In addition, interesting insights are offered on the role of EO to promote the introduction of digital transformation in SMEs operating in the “Made in Italy” sectors. Practical implications – This study shows the role of EO as a reactive characteristic during a crisis. Thus, the authors’ suggestion to SMEs is to develop their EO as a part of the strategic orientation. In addition, this work encourages policymakers to invest in the promotion of specific interventions aimed at supporting entrepreneurs in enhancing their capacity to effectively manage digital transformation. Originality/value – Identifying the most important triggers of digitalisation in times of crisis remains an underexplored area of research. Thus, this study adds value to both digital transformation and entrepreneurial orientation topics.

Has COVID-19 pushed digitalisation in SMEs? The role of entrepreneurial orientation

SERRAVALLE FRANCESCA
;
VIASSONE MILENA
Last
2023-01-01

Abstract

Purpose – The authors’ aim is to investigate if entrepreneurial orientation (EO) has a role in interpreting an external crisis, such as COVID-19, as an opportunity for investing in digital transformation. Design/methodology/approach – The authors undertook multiple case study research on the digital transformation of seven “Made in Italy” SMEs and proposed a conceptual framework that sees an external stimulus (e.g. the pandemic) as a driver of the digitalisation, filtered by the entrepreneurial orientation of SMEs. Findings – The authors’ results show how EO deals with the changing environment and helps address the market opportunities related to digitalisation. Research limitations/implications – This study contributes to the existing literature on EO and digital transformation of SMEs, creating a new model for forthcoming studies on this topic. In addition, interesting insights are offered on the role of EO to promote the introduction of digital transformation in SMEs operating in the “Made in Italy” sectors. Practical implications – This study shows the role of EO as a reactive characteristic during a crisis. Thus, the authors’ suggestion to SMEs is to develop their EO as a part of the strategic orientation. In addition, this work encourages policymakers to invest in the promotion of specific interventions aimed at supporting entrepreneurs in enhancing their capacity to effectively manage digital transformation. Originality/value – Identifying the most important triggers of digitalisation in times of crisis remains an underexplored area of research. Thus, this study adds value to both digital transformation and entrepreneurial orientation topics.
2023
30
2
311
341
Entrepreneurial orientation, COVID-19, Stimulus, SMEs, Digitalisation
PENCO LARA; PROFUMO GIORGIA; SERRAVALLE FRANCESCA; VIASSONE MILENA
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2318/1868959
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