n Journal of Emerging Trends in Economics and Management Sciences - SMEs’ adaptability in the increasingly discontinuous business environment

Volume 7 Number 4
  • ISSN : 2141-7024
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Enhanced adaptive capabilities edify a firm’s dynamic capabilities to respond to the emerging changes and perform more sustainably in the increasingly discontinuous business environment. While using an exploratory qualitative research method, this research evaluates the adaptive practices and models that SMEs use to analyse trends and sense the need for change by modifying their adaptive capabilities to respond to the emerging opportunities or threats. The motive of the study was not only to identify the major underlying paradoxes and uncertainties of the SMEs’ adaptive capabilities, but also to suggest the adaptive capability improvement model that the SMEs can adopt. The analysis entailed the evaluations of the opinions of twenty managers drawn from ten businesses in the manufacturing and the retail sectors. Although it was found that most of the businesses accomplish relevant analysis and modifications of their internal capabilities to edify their adaptive and dynamic capabilities, findings revealed lack of evidence of the attempt to match strategy to the prevailing trends by using any or a combination of the four strategic options that include; classical, adaptive, shaping, visionary and multi model approach. Instead, due to the cost of adaptability and management of constant change and transformation, most of the SMEs tend to just conflate predictability with malleability in order to assess whether the prevailing environment is shape-able and unpredictable. Triangulation with theories indicated such approach to cause a mismatch between strategy and the prevailing environmental trends by limiting the business world to only two strategic options; predictable and immutable or unpredictable and mutable. To deal with such shortfalls, this research enriches the existing theories on SMEs’ adaptability by suggesting a hybrid model that the manufacturing businesses can use in the initiatives of organising for adaptability to operate more sustainably. Considering that SMEs’ sustainability is a challenge that most governments still grapple with, this research is significant and impactful on the basis that it highlights how the reading of the unfolding market and industry trends and response by modifying and reconfiguring their capabilities are critical for SMEs’ adaptability and sustainability.

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