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Change process : a key enabler to building resilient SMEs

Ates, Aylin and Bititci, U. (2011) Change process : a key enabler to building resilient SMEs. International Journal of Production Research, 49 (18). pp. 5601-5618. ISSN 0020-7543

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Abstract

Resilience is now seen as a key organisational capability for sustainability. At the same time, it is recognised that for organisations to be more sustainable and resilient, the delivery of innovative responses to the market through continuous change is required. If SMEs account for over 70% of the world's production, and there is a growing mandate to create sustainable manufacturing SMEs, then instilling, developing and implementing change capabilities is paramount in making progress towards sustainability and resilience. Therefore, the paper aims to demonstrate that change management process capability is fundamental to creating resilience and aims to develop a framework to understand how change is managed in manufacturing SMEs, and how this impacts on resilience. This study is based on a multiple case study methodology through semi-structured, face-to-face interviews with 232 senior managers in 37 manufacturing SMEs across Europe. The paper demonstrates that sustainability and resilience in manufacturing SMEs will be enhanced by: (a) ability to embrace organisational and people dimensions as well as operational aspects of change management, and (b) paying attention to planning and external communication to drive change proactively. This article builds a bridge between the theoretical starting-point, the results of empirical research, and the usability of the presented findings in practice in order to contribute to the development of more resilient manufacturing SMEs.