Crisis Management of Small and Medium Enterprises in Response to the COVID-19 Public Hwealth Crisis: The Case of Colombia



Cómo citar

Cuervo Sanchez, J. S. (2022). Crisis Management of Small and Medium Enterprises in Response to the COVID-19 Public Hwealth Crisis: The Case of Colombia. Reto, 9(1), 11–22. (Original work published 16 de diciembre de 2022)


Literature in crisis management as extensivily developed over the last decades. Nevertheless, most studies have focused in analysing large companies and evidence of strategies adopted by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to face a crisis is usually limited, especially in developing countries. Therefore, this study seeks to answer how COVID-19 has impacted SMEs in Colombia, determining the strategies that business owners have adopted to confront this event. Through a mixed method approach, we analyse SME business processes most impacted by the pandemic and identify major strategies adopted by business owners to mitigate adverse consequences. The results show that areas where SMEs experienced more problems were short-term employee payments, significant declines in customer demand, and repurposing products and services. To face the crisis, many SMEs used different strategies, such as enhancing their usage of online marketing channels, building new alliances with key stakeholders, entering new markets, or serving different clients.



Alves JC, Lok TC, Luo Y and Hao W (2020). Crisis management for small business during the COVID-19 outbreak: Survival, resilience, and renewal strategies of firms in Macau.

Arrúa AA and Ríos DF (2020). COVID-19 y cadena de suministro de alimentos: estatus y perspectivas. Investigaciones y Estudios-UNA,11(2): 43-55.

Bartik AW, Bertrand M, Cullen Z, Glaeser EL, Luca M and Stanton C (2020). The impact of COVID-19 on small business outcomes and expectations. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117(30): 17656-17666.

Boiral O, Brotherton MC, Rivaud L and Guillaumie L (2021). Organizations’ Management of the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Scoping Review of Business Articles. Sustainability 13(7): 3993.

Borgatti, SP, and Cross R (2003). A relational view of information seeking and learning in social networks. Management science 49(4): 432-445.

Burnes B and Cooke B (2013). Kurt Lewin’s Field Theory: A Review and Re‐evaluation. International journal of management reviews 15(4); 408-425.

Herbane B (2013). Exploring crisis management in UK small‐and medium‐sized enterprises. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management 21(2): 82-95.

Hong P, Huang C and Li B (2012). Crisis management for SMEs: insights from a multiple-case study. International Journal of Business Excellence 5(5): 535-553.

Hough MG and Spillan J (2005). Crisis planning: Increasing effectiveness, decreasing discomfort. Journal of Business & Economics Research (JBER) 3(4).

Jones GR (2013). Organizational theory, design, and change. Boston: Pearson: 31-33.

Juergensen J, Guimón J, and Narula R (2020). European SMEs amidst the COVID-19 crisis: assessing impact and policy responses. Journal of Industrial and Business Economic 47(3): 499-510.

Kotter JP. (2012). Leading change. Harvard business press.

Kottika E, Özsomer A, Rydén P, Theodorakis IG, Kaminakis K, Kottikas KG and Stathakopoulos V (2020). We survived this! What managers could learn from SMEs who successfully navigated the Greek economic crisis. Industrial Marketing Management 88: 352-365.

Lee N, Sameen H and Cowling M (2015). Access to finance for innovative SMEs since the financial crisis. Research policy 44(2): 370-380.

Mendoza G (2021). Revisión sistemática de literatura sobre los protocolos de bioseguridad en establecimientos alimenticios en Territorio Colombiano. Doctoral dissertation, Universidad Cooperativa de Colombia, Facultad de Ingenierías, Ingeniería Industrial, Barrancabermeja, Colombia.

Mitroff II, Shrivastava P and Udwadia FE (1987). Effective crisis management. Academy of Management Perspectives 1(4): 283-292.

Mitroff II, Pauchant TC and Shrivastava P (1988). The structure of man-made organizational crises: Conceptual and empirical issues in the development of a general theory of crisis management. Technological Forecasting and Social Change 33(2): 83-107.

Naidoo V (2010). Firm survival through a crisis: The influence of market orientation, marketing innovation and business strategy. Industrial marketing management 39(8): 1311-1320.

Naradda SK, Ekanayake EM, Abeyrathne KN, Prasanna RP, Jayasundara JM and Rajapakshe PS (2020). A Review of Global Challenges and Survival Strategies of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Economies 8(4): 79.

Neilson C, Humphries JE, Ulyssea G (2020). COVID-19 Encuesta internacional de expectativas pequeñas y medianas empresas. Available at: (accessed October 03, 2020).

Nurunnabi M (2020). Recovery planning and resilience of SMEs during the COVID-19: experience from Saudi Arabia. Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change.

Omar ARC, Ishak S and Jusoh MA (2020). The impact of Covid-19 Movement Control Order on SMEs’ businesses and survival strategies. Geografia-Malaysian Journal of Society and Space 16(2).

Parnell JA (2015). Crisis Management and Strategic Orientation in Small and Medium‐Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Peru, Mexico, and the United States. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management 23(4): 221-233.

Pearson CM and Clair JA (1998). Reframing crisis management. Academy of management review 23(1): 59-76.

Pedauga L, Sáez F and Delgado-Márquez BL (2021). Macroeconomic lockdown and SMEs: the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Spain. Small Business Economics: 1-24.

Perwaiz A (2015). Thailand floods and impact on private sector. Disaster Management and Private Sectors: 231-245. Springer, Tokyo.

Seawright J and Gerring J (2008). Case selection techniques in case study research: A menu of qualitative and quantitative options. Political research quarterly 61(2): 294-308.

Schütze J, Baum H, Ganß M, Ivanova R and Müller E. (2011). Cooperation of SMEs–Empirical evidence after the crisis. Working Conference on Virtual Enterprises: 527-534. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

Shen H, Fu M, Pan H, Yu Z and Chen Y (2020). The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on firm performance. Emerging Markets Finance and Trade 56(10): 2213-2230.

Suarez S (2020). Marketing en tiempos de crisis generado por la COVID-19. Management Learning 38(5): 519-538.

Ulubeyli S, Kazaz A, and Sahin S (2018). Survival of construction SMEs in macroeconomic crises: Innovation-based competitive strategies. Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology.

Vădan P (2018). Crisis Management and Socio-Political Risk in the Hellenistic Age. The University of Chicago.

Vargo J and Seville E (2011). Crisis strategic planning for SMEs: finding the silver lining. International Journal of production research 49(18): 5619-5635.

Varum CA and Rocha VC (2013). Employment and SMEs during crises. Small Business Economics 40(1): 9-25.

Vašíčková V. (2019). Crisis Management Process–A Literature Review and a Conceptual Integration. Acta Oeconomica Pragensia 2019(3-4): 61-77.

Weick KE. (1988). Enacted sensemaking in crisis situations. Journal of management studies 25(4): 305-317.

Creative Commons License

Esta obra está bajo una licencia internacional Creative Commons Atribución-NoComercial-SinDerivadas 4.0.


Los datos de descargas todavía no están disponibles.