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Consolidation strategies of small family firms in Poland during Covid-19 crisis



Objective: The objective of the article is to contribute to research into family businesses by understanding how small family businesses are responding and adapting to the Covid-19 crisis.

Research Design & Methods: The research method is based on a comparative analysis of case studies. To investigate the impact of Covid-19 on small family businesses in Poland, we conducted exploratory studies in 12 entities, based on 29 partially structured interviews with managers of these companies.

Findings: The sudden spread of the Covid-19 pandemic around the world took many lives and caused severe restrictions in social and private life, including the business sector. While almost every firm has been affected by the pandemic crisis, small businesses, dominated by family businesses, are particularly vulnerable to it. Our findings show that the Covid-19 crisis affects all companies and presents a completely new challenge that has so far had no precedent. Small family businesses are not prepared for the prolonged state of uncertainty and tension threatening the continuity of their operations, which particularly endangers financial stability and employee maintenance. In responding to the crisis, small family firms cannot refer to previous experience or developed methods and patterns of operation.

Implications & Recommendations: Small family businesses must quickly adapt their operations to changing conditions, regardless of their size and industry in which they operate. Covid-19 in small family businesses causes changes in their approach to running the business and family life.

Contribution & Value Added: According to our knowledge, this is the first empirical study in Poland on the impact of Covid-19 on small family businesses.


covid-19, small firms, family firms, entrepreneurship, crisis, pandemic

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Author Biography

Andrzej Marjański

Associate Professor and Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Management, Head of the Department of Entrepreneurship and Family Businesses at the University of Social Sciences in Łódź. His research interests and activities as an expert concentrate on the issues of family enterprises, development strategies, entrepreneurship, and the management of small and medium-sized enterprises.

Correspondence to: Dr. Andrzej Marjański, Department of Entrepreneurship and Family Businesses, University of Social Sciences, ul. Sienkiewicza 9, 90-113 Łódź, Poland, e-mail:

Łukasz Sułkowski

Full Professor at the Faculty of Management and Social Communication of the Jagiellonian University, at Clark University, and the Chair of the Management Department at the University of Social Sciences in Łódź, Poland. A member of the Presidium of the Polish Accreditation Committee since 2012. His research interests include organisation and management, especially critical management studies, the epistemology and methodology of social sciences and the humanities, organisational culture and intercultural management, public management, and the management of family businesses.

Correspondence to: Prof. dr hab. Łukasz Sułkowski, Institute of Public Affairs, Jagiellonian University, ul. Łojasiewicza 4, 30-348 Kraków, Poland, e-mail:


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