Entrepreneurs’ resilience to natural disasters: a survey in the retail sector

  • Elisa Martinelli
  • Giulia Tagliazzucchi
Keywords: resilience; natural disasters; small retailers; earthquake


Purpose of the paper: The paper is aimed at studying entrepreneurs’ resilience to natural disasters by verifying the impact of some of the main determinants of the resilience capacity of small retailers who were affected by the 2012 Emilia earthquake.

Methodology: The research consisted in administering a structured questionnaire to a sample of small retailers who were affected by the earthquake. Data was processed applying a hierarchical multiple regression.

Findings: Findings show that all the investigated constructs exerted a significant and positive effect on the resilience capacity of small retailers. The greatest impact is exerted by market orientation and individual resilience. Control variables like gender, age and education, apart from the possession of a graduate degree, did not exert any effect.

Research limits: The paper consists in a preliminary study that is explorative in nature. Future studies should consider additional organizational resilience antecedents such as different configurations of retailers’ resources and competences.

Practical implications: A deeper knowledge on organizational resilience antecedents could enable small retailers to better evaluate their investments and understand with which kind of abilities/competences they should be equipped in order to face natural disasters. Managerial implications are complemented by public policy recommendations.

Originality of the paper: In the management literature, the study of entrepreneurs’ resilience to natural disasters in small firms, and retailing in particular, is limited. Empirical research is also lacking, apart from a small number of qualitative studies. Our paper aims at filling these gaps by reporting the preliminary findings of a quantitative survey.