Call for papers - Family and technology: Resilience factors in SMEs in a pandemic

Submissions open March 6th, 2022; Submissions due May 31th, 2022  


Guest Editors

Vanessa Diaz-Moriana (University of the Balearic Islands)

Remedios Hernández-Linares (University of Extremadura)

Valeriano Sanchez-Famoso (University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU) 

Special Issue Overview

In conjunction with the VI International Forum on Management, held in Mérida (Badajoz, Spain) during the days 24th and 25th of January, the European Journal of Family Business will publish a special issue that will include papers submitted to and presented at the conference, whose main theme is “Family and technology: Resilience factors in SMEs in a pandemic”.

The pandemic generated by COVID-19 has forced firms to face dramatic environmental changes: the breakdown of global supply chains; restrictions on opening hours to the public; limitations on the number of people who can be served in an establishment; borders closures; perimeter closures in towns, cities, and regions; the need to adapt physical workspaces to turn them into safe environments; the need to invest in technologies to promote remote work or the increase of home-based businesses, among others  (Choudhury et al., 2020; Gonsalves, 2020; Kniffin et al., 2021; Reuschke & Mason, 2020).

Small- and medium- enterprises (SMEs), due to their smaller size and higher flexibility may explore new opportunities and develop emergent strategies for sustainable business operations (Davidsson, 2015; Papadopoulus et al., 2020; Shepherd & Williams, 2018). However, they are more vulnerable to environmental changes (Wade & Hulland, 2004) because they have fewer options in terms of resources, capabilities, and market power (Drnevich & Kriauciunas, 2011; Sawers et al., 2008). This higher vulnerability and their significant share of the business landscape (Ayyagari et al., 2007; Filipe et al., 2016; OECD, 2017) seem to call for a critical reflection on how to promote SMEs’ resilience, so that they can survive and successfully face both the COVID-19 pandemic and other pandemic and crisis situations that may occur in the future. This reflection is also justified by a report published by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) last year, according to which:

The current crisis has affected SMEs disproportionately and has revealed their vulnerability to the supply and demand shock (in particular with regard to their liquidity) with a serious risk that over 50% of SMEs will not survive the next few months. A widespread collapse of SMEs (60-70% of OECD employment) could have a strong impact on national economies and global growth prospects, on perceptions and expectations, and even on the financial sector, which may already be under strain by non-performing portfolios.” (OECD, 2020, p. 3).

Environmental turbulence leads to the increasing value of resilience (Zhao et al., 2016). Resilience refers to how firms adjust, adapt, and reinvent their business models in a changing environment (Sharma & Salvato, 2013). Indeed, Lengnick-Hall and Beck (2005) define resilience as the ability of organisations to avoid, absorb, respond to, and recover from situations that could threaten their existence. One of the main objectives of family firms is their long-term survival in order to transfer their business to subsequent generations (Lumpkin & Brigham, 2011) and, therefore, resilience is especially important in this type of firms. The essence of resilience is the intrinsic ability of a firm to maintain a dynamically stable state (Hollnagel, 2006), which forces family firms to pursue longevity and manage the trade-off between continuity and adaptability (Campopiano et al., 2019). Resilience allows family firms to remain flexible and balance the core essence of both the business and the family (Sharma & Salvato, 2013).

The family firms’ resilience is especially important in this historical moment because "the pandemic and its social and economic reverberations are triggering particularly salient challenges for family businesses" (De Massis & Rondi, 2020, p. 1727). For example, while succession has been considered traditionally as an intra-family process that must be methodically planned and executed to ensure a smooth and beneficial transition to the next generation (e.g., Cabrera-Suárez et al., 2001), as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic a vast cohort of family firms (mostly family SMEs) have to face succession in an unexpected, rapid, and unplanned way (De Massis & Rondi, 2020). Despite these additional challenges, during times of crisis business families are better able to mobilize their specific bundle of resources to keep their business operating, lending superior resilience to family firms (Amann & Jaussaud, 2012; Calabrò et al., 2021; Kraus et al., 2020Lee et al., 2016). In fact, research has shown that family business’ ability to, for instance, leverage their family’s social capital and patient financial capital can make a difference in times of crisis, making the family the backbone of family business resilience in such times (Calabrò et al., 2021).

Along this line, technology seems to be a second SMEs resilience factor in the pandemic. But the implementation of such technologies by SMEs to secure their continuity requires strategic rethinking of their business processes, as well as understanding the implications of technologies deployment on work, organizing, and performance (Papadopoulus et al., 2020).

To explore these important and broad issues, this special issue encourages particularly rigorous and relevant submissions that advance our understanding of these issues.


We encourage conceptual, reviews, methodological and empirical manuscripts that address, but are not limited to, the following topics or research questions:  

  • How do family firms adapt to changing environments?
  • How do family firms act in case of major crisis such as a pandemic?
  • How do family and nonfamily firms differ from each other in terms of managing crisis?
  • How are different idiosyncratic features of family firms affecting their resilience? Are these unique features boosters or hinders of resilience?
  • How does technology affect the resilience of family firms?
  • How do family firms promote their capability of strategic renewal and how it determines their results?
  • How does the crises impact in the dividend payments in family firms?
  • How does digitalization boosted by the Covid-19 impact in family firms? Can this digitalization constitute an opportunity for family firms in developing countries?
  • Does does Covid-19 psychologically impact on family entrepreneurs and family firms? And if so, how?
  • Are more entrepreneurial family firms more resilient than those less entrepreneurial?
  • Are family business significantly different form their non-family counterparts in respect to way they achieve competitive advantage through resilience?
  • What are the driver elements of family firms’ resilience during extreme events?
  • What is the role of the accountant in the management of family firms in a context of crisis?
Submission information

Submissions to this special issue should include new, unpublished, original research, reviews or opinion papers. Papers can be submitted in English, Spanish and Portuguese. Papers submitted in Spanish or Portuguese have to be translated to English once they are conditionally accepted.

Please make sure that when uploading the manuscripts authors indicate in the Comments for the Editor that the submission belongs to the special issue “SI - 2022” to ensure that all submissions are correctly identified. Manuscripts should be prepared in accordance with the Journal Guide for Authors available at All submitted manuscripts will be subject to the European Journal of Family Business‘s double-blind review process.

Send an email to the Guest Editor (Remedios Hernández-Linares for any questions regarding the submission process. The deadline for submissions is 30th April. This special issue will be published the second semester of 2022.


Amann, B., & Jaussaud, J. (2012). Family and non-family business resilience in an economic downturn. Asia Pacific Business Review, 18(2), 203–223.

Ayyagari, M., Beck, T., & Demirguc-Kunt, A. (2007). Small and medium enterprises across the globe. Small Business Economics, 29(4), 415–434.

Cabrera-Suárez, K., De Saá-Pérez, P., & García-Almeida, D. (2001). The succession process from a resource-and knowledge-based view of the family firm. Family Business Review, 14(1), 37–48.

Calabrò, A., Hermann, F., Minichilli, A., & Suess-Reyes, J. (2021). Business families in times of crisis: The backbone of family firm resilience and continuity. Journal of Family Business Strategy, 12(2), 100442.

Campopiano, G., De Massis, A., & Kotlar, J. (2019). Environmental jolts, family-centered non-economic goals, and innovation: a framework of family firm resilience. In: Memili, E., & Dibrell, C. (eds.). The Palgrave handbook of heterogeneity among family firms (pp. 773-789). Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.

Choudhury, P., Foroughi, C., & Larson, B. Z. (2020). Work-from-anywhere: the productivity effects of geographic flexibility. Academy of Management Proceedings, 2020(1), 21199.

Davidsson, P. (2015). Entrepreneurial opportunities and the entrepreneurship nexus: A re-conceptualization. Journal of Business Venturing, 30(5), 674–695.

De Massis, A., & Rondi, E. (2020). COVID-19 and the future of family business research. Journal of Management Studies, 57(8), 1727-1731.

Drnevich, P. L., & Kriauciunas, A. P. (2011). Clarifying the conditions and limits of the contributions of ordinary and dynamic capabilities to relative firm performance. Strategic Management Journal, 32(3), 254–279.

Filipe, S. F., Grammatikos, T., & Michala, D. (2016). Forecasting distress in European SME portfolios. Journal of Banking & Finance, 64, 112-135.

Gonsalves, L. (2020). From face time to flex time: The role of physical space in worker temporal flexibility. Administrative Science Quarterly, 65(4), 1058-1091.

Hollnagel, E. (2006). Resilience: the challenge of the unstable. In: Hollnagel, E., Woods, D., & Leveson, N. (eds). Resilience engineering: concepts and precepts (1st ed.) (pp. 9–17). Aldershot, UK: Ashgate.

Kniffin, K. M., Narayanan, J., Anseel, F., Antonakis, J., Ashford, S. J., Bakker, A. B., Bamberger, P. et al. (2020). COVID-19 and the workplace: Implications, issues, and insights for future research and action. Washington, DC: APA.

Kraus, S., Clauss, T., Breier, M., Gast, J., Zardini, A., & Tiberius, V. (2020). The economics of COVID-19: Initial empirical evidence on how family firms in five European countries cope with the corona crisis. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, 26(5), 1067–1092.

Lee, S. H., Phan, P. H., & Ding, H. B. (2016). A theory of family employee involvement during resource paucity. Journal of Family Business Strategy, 7(3), 160–166.

Lengnick-Hall, C. A., & Beck, T. E. (2005). Adaptive fit versus robust transformation: How organizations respond to environmental change. Journal of Management, 31(5), 738–757.

Lumpkin, G. T., & Brigham, K. H. (2011). Long-term orientation and intertemporal choice in family firms. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 35(6), 1149–1169.

OECD (2017). Enhancing the contributions of SMEs in a global and digitalised economy, 7-8. Retrieved from: (last accessed: August 28, 2021).

OECD (2020). Tackling coronavirus (COVID-19): Contributing to a global effort. SME policy responses. Retrieved from: (last accessed: August 28, 2021).

Papadopoulos, T., Baltas, K. N., & Balta, M. E. (2020). The use of digital technologies by small and medium enterprises during COVID-19: Implications for theory and practice. International Journal of Information Management, 55, 102192.

Reuschke, D., & Mason, C. (2020). The engagement of home-based businesses in the digital economy. Futures,

Sawers, J. L., Pretorius, M. W., & Oerlemans, L. A. (2008). Safeguarding SMEs dynamic capabilities in technology innovative SME- large company partnerships in South Africa. Technovation, 28(4), 171–182.

Sharma, P., & Salvato, C. (2013). Family firm longevity: a balancing act between continuity and change. In Fernández Pérez, P., & Colli, A. (Eds.). The endurance of family businesses: a global overview (p. 34). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Shepherd, D. A., & Williams, T. A. (2018). Hitting rock bottom after job loss: Bouncing back to create a new positive work identity. Academy of Management Review, 43(1), 28-49.

Wade, M., & Hulland, J. (2004). The resource-based view and information systems research: Review, extension, and suggestions for future research. MIS quarterly, 28(1), 107-142.

Zhao, E. Y., Fisher, G., Lounsbury, M., & Miller, D. (2016). Optimal distinctiveness: broadening the interface between institutional theory and strategic management. Strategic Management Journal, 38(1), 93-113.