Understanding strategic adaptation in small firms

Minet Schindehutte, Michael H. Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


Examines the concept of adaptation as it relates to the start-up and survival of small businesses over time. Adaptation is approached as the making of appropriate adjustments to the business and its strategic focus, as the venture evolves from an initial idea to a successful business. It is proposed that adaptation has three relevant components: the firm's capacity to adapt, how much it actually adapts, and the strategies it relies upon to adapt. A conceptual model and hypotheses are proposed, relating the entrepreneur, the organizational context and the external environment to these three components of adaptation, and relating the components of adaptation to performance. Results from a cross-sectional survey of small business founder/owners suggest that characteristics of the entrepreneur and levels of environmental change are especially important determinants of the three components of adaptation, and that levels of and strategies for adapting are related to organizational performance. A number of implications are drawn from the findings and suggestions are made for ongoing research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)84-107
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Business development
  • Entrepreneurialism
  • Flexibility
  • Small firms
  • Strategy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)


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