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Business model pivoting and digital technologies in turbulent environments

Balta, Maria Elisavet, Papadopoulos, Thanos, Spanaki, Konstantina (2023) Business model pivoting and digital technologies in turbulent environments. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior and Research, . ISSN 1355-2554. E-ISSN 1758-6534. (doi:10.1108/IJEBR-02-2023-0210) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:102635)

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Purpose – This paper draws on the Dynamic Capabilities View to discuss how Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) use digital technologies to develop digital capabilities that will enable them to change their current business model and trajectory -that is, to pivot- within turbulent environments, and subsequently to survive and grow.

Design/methodology/approach – We collected and analysed qualitative data from 26 SMEs in South-East England that have used digital technologies to pivot during the pandemic. The data was collected via in-depth semi-structured interviews. We analysed the data by creating first-order concepts, second-order themes, and aggregating dimensions.

Findings – Our findings suggest that (i) digital technologies enable pivoting by facilitating the creation of the following digital capability types: ‘digital sensing’, ‘digital seizing’ and ‘digital transforming’; (ii) Each of these digital capability types is underpinned by micro-foundations (sub�capabilities) and shaped by the digital culture of the organisation. (iii) these capabilities are triggered by the turbulent environment and the existing digital technologies, and are shaped by the digital culture.

Originality/value – We contribute to the literature of digital entrepreneurship as we illustrate (i) how the micro-foundations of digital capabilities, as facilitated by digital technologies, assist pivoting; and (ii) the process from key activities during pivoting to second-order themes that represent micro-foundations to digital (dynamic) capabilities for pivoting in turbulent environments. Our study highlights the importance of digital pivoting for businesses in the UK Southeast that have many aspirations for growth and innovation, whilst striving to address multiple challenges including digital divide and literacy, inflation and cost of living crisis, as well as supply chain issues

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1108/IJEBR-02-2023-0210
Uncontrolled keywords: pivoting; digital technologies; digital capabilities opportunities; barriers; SMEs; UK Southeast
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Kent Business School - Division > Department of Analytics, Operations and Systems
Funders: British Academy of Management (
Depositing User: Thanos Papadopoulos
Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2023 14:55 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2024 08:30 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Balta, Maria Elisavet.

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Papadopoulos, Thanos.

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