Loughborough University
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Towards a framework for repairing stakeholder trust in entrepreneurial small businesses in times of macro-level crises

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posted on 2024-06-20, 16:25 authored by Alexandros PsychogiosAlexandros Psychogios, Leslie Szamosi, Rea Prouska, Dritjon Gruda

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to understand how managers in entrepreneurial small businesses (ESBs) deal with exogenous (macro) crises, particularly in relation to the breakdown of intra- and inter-stakeholder trust.

Design/methodology/approach: Utilising a qualitative approach, we draw lessons from Greek ESBs greatly affected by the 2008–2019 economic and 2020–2022 health crises. Based on 54 in-depth, longitudinal investigations of four ESBs at three time points, this research offers insights on overcoming organisation-stakeholder trust breakdowns that emerg due to crises.

Findings: The findings suggest that macro-level crises undermined the foundations of trust-based relationships, creating a trust gap between organisations and their stakeholders and threatening ESBs’ business practices. Our framework suggests that ESBs repair trust relationships, both intra- and inter-organisational, through sense-making of trust breakdown, implementing trust-repair strategies, and then maintaining trust in those stakeholder relationships through challenging crisis periods.

Practical implications: Practitioners can use the suggested framework in relation to overcoming intra- and inter-stakeholder trust breakdowns during macro-level crises.

Originality/value: The paper offers a new framework that can aid entrepreneurs and managers in making sense of repairing and maintaining trust in stakeholder relationships during turbulent times.o description supplied



  • Loughborough Business School

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Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development


Emerald Emerald Publishing Limited


  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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© Emerald Publishing Limited

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This author accepted manuscript is deposited under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC) licence. This means that anyone may distribute, adapt, and build upon the work for non-commercial purposes, subject to full attribution. If you wish to use this manuscript for commercial purposes, please contact permissions@emerald.com

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Prof Alexandros Psychogios. Deposit date: 6 June 2024