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Small business survival and COVID-19


Available online 9 May 2021, 101087

Research in Transportation Economics rights and content


Small businesses are more susceptible to cash flow problems created by the COVID-19 pandemic putting them in jeopardy of survival. This research utilized a case study methodology that focused on small businesses in the trucking industry to assess the impact of this pandemic on the supply chain. Power imbalances can occur in the supply chain when certain parties act opportunistically. These imbalances are analyzed through theories of Resource Dependence, Resource Orchestration, and Entrepreneurial Orientation and embellished through the business failure and crisis management literature. Using actual data, the study shows the power shifts in the supply chain. Using qualitative data, the responses taken by these small businesses to survive the crisis were reviewed. The sales data of these small businesses were then compared to a national transportation index. The results of the comparison show more volatility among these businesses than the index. Both small businesses utilized their entrepreneurial orientation (EO) by taking forward-looking actions to reduce their risk exposure and avoid failure. They also utilized resource orchestration theory by restructuring their resource portfolio to lower their cost structures via selected layoffs. Finally, they took advantage of market opportunities by obtaining PPP loans and pursuing new customer opportunities.



Supply chain

Small businesses

Power imbalances

Entrepreneurial orientation



Cost structure

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© 2021 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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