What do we know about small and medium enterprises’ survival in a post-global economic crisis context?

Izabella Steinerowska-Streb, Grzegorz Glod, Artur Steiner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Downloads (Pure)


Considering the impacts of the most recent global economic crisis in 2008/2009, this paper explores how firm size, type of business activity and approach to internationalisation influence SMEs’ survival. Based on the literature in the field, we developed three hypotheses regarding determinants of Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) survival. We tested these hypotheses in a 7-year quantitative study and a survey of 344 SMEs in Poland – the seventh largest market in the European Union. Our findings reveal that, in the context of crisis, internationalisation acts as a stimulus for SMEs and influences their long-term sustainability, with businesses operating in foreign markets being more likely to survive after a global crisis. However, neither business size nor the type of business activity appears to have an impact on SMEs’ survival in a post-global economic crisis environment. Our paper extends knowledge about factors influencing a firm’s post-crisis survival and proposes a new framework for understanding characteristics of SMEs and their propensity to survive in a post-crisis context. In our conclusions, we discuss implications for SME entrepreneurs showing that, in order to enhance chances of survival, even small and medium enterprises should consider expanding business activities beyond their national markets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-278
Number of pages20
JournalLocal Economy
Issue number4
Early online date4 Jul 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Jul 2022


  • crises
  • SMEs
  • business survival
  • internationalisation
  • Small and Medium Enterprises

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'What do we know about small and medium enterprises’ survival in a post-global economic crisis context?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this