MBA SMEs Research
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MBA Program Chair and Alumna Collaborate on Transdisciplinary Research

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YEREVAN, Armenia Seeking to advance transdisciplinary research American University of Armenia (AUA) Master of Business Administration (MBA) Program Chair and AUA Manoogian Simone College of Business and Economics Associate Professor Dr. Mane Beglaryan, in collaboration with international faculty Dr. Francisco Bastida, professor at Prince Sultan University (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia) and researcher at the International Doctoral School of the University of Murcia (Murcia, Spain), and MBA alumna Dr. Anush Drampyan (MBA ’16) have successfully completed a research project entitled “Firm Ownership, Strategic Behaviour and Entrepreneurial Resilience: An Empirical Study from Armenia.”

The ongoing impact of COVID-19 on entrepreneurship underscores the crucial role of owner-managers in demonstrating traits and characteristics that enable them to weather such adversities. The formation, success, longevity, and survival of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are closely tied to the effectiveness of owner-manager decision-making and strategic foresight. The characteristic traits and behavioral strategies displayed by owner-managers during crises are not only vital determinants of firm performance and competitive advantage, but also essential for survival and success in times of extreme adversity.

“Our research, based on a representative sample of Armenian SMEs, focuses on how owner-managers exhibit strategic competitiveness and entrepreneurial resilience through the adoption of digitalization. Amidst the consequences of COVID-19 for entrepreneurship, our findings offer significant implications for both research and practice,” explained Dr. Bastida.

Among the aforementioned implications is early threat identification, according to which SMEs must promptly recognize threats like pandemics to take necessary measures. The study’s empirical analysis reveals that acknowledging the negative impact of crises helps mitigate the effect on net operating income. The second implication is digitalization opportunities: SMEs that leveraged digital sales growth and transitioned to an e-business model were better equipped to withstand the pandemic’s impact. These adaptive strategies allowed them to retain previous investment opportunities and cushion the financial blow of COVID-19.

“In summary, owner-managers play a pivotal role in navigating unprecedented situations like COVID-19, and their behaviors and characteristics significantly influence SME resilience and success,” added Dr. Bastida. 

“Engaging in transdisciplinary research and working across various disciplines is a rewarding pathway to extend one’s conventional scholarly training to other disciplines,” reflected Dr. Beglaryan. “Having a senior international scholar in finance and accounting on the team galvanized our curiosity in examining the relationship between entrepreneurial resilience and financial performance. By integrating the “digital capabilities framework” into strategic foresight, this work makes significant contributions to entrepreneurship research, while uniquely positioned in the country context of Armenia. To our knowledge, this is the first research in Armenia examining strategic foresight that leads to the display of a firm’s competitiveness through entrepreneurial resilience during exogenous shocks. While research on foresight is a management and strategy concept, we bring to the table the added emphasis on the firm at large rather than a few upper-management strategists, including every single manager that becomes pivotal for driving important strategic decisions that yield firm-level competitiveness.”

This collaborative study has been presented at the EURAM 2023 Annual Conference. The European Academy of Management is a learned society founded in 2001 to advance the academic field of management in the continent. With members from 60 countries in Europe and beyond, EURAM provides its members with opportunities for rich debates on a variety of research management themes and traditions. Currently, the research is undergoing review in a leading peer-reviewed entrepreneurship journal. 

Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia, affiliated with the University of California, and accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission in the United States. AUA provides local and international students with Western-style education through top-quality undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs, promotes research and innovation, encourages civic engagement and community service, and fosters democratic values.