Navigating the Digitalization Journey of SMEs: Insights from the COVID-19 Pandemic


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Badshah W.

Review of International Comparative Management , vol.25, no.1, pp.121-137, 2024 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)

Abstract

The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted social norms and posed significant challenges for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). This study examines the impact of the pandemic on SMEs' business performance and explores their digital transformation movement as a response to mitigate negative effects and sustain operations in the market. Additionally, the study investigates the role of government support in assisting SMEs during this crisis. A survey questionnaire methodology was employed to collect data from a randomly selected sample group of SME owners in Thailand, representing the digital trends within this vulnerable business sector. The results reveal that SMEs experienced a decline in revenue as the most significant negative impact, followed by difficulties in interacting with customers. To adapt and survive, SMEs turned to digital platforms, motivated by the need to recover revenue, engage with customers, and explore new opportunities. This study sheds light on the digitalization efforts undertaken by SMEs during and post-Covid-19, highlighting the challenges faced, strategies employed, and the supportive role of government initiatives. The findings provide valuable insights for policymakers, SME owners, and industry practitioners seeking to navigate the digital landscape and enhance SME resilience in times of crisis.