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Proactive and Reactive Attitude to Crisis: Evidence from European Firms


Objective: The aim of this study is to investigate the behaviour of European firms in
the time of the economic crisis in 2008-2009. We analyse the determinants of proactive
strategies in the context of innovation and the range of products offered by every
firm on the market.

Research Design & Methods: Based on a large and representative sample of 14 750
(EFIGE dataset) firms from Austria, Germany, France, Hungary, Italy, Spain and the UK,
we estimate the logit model for two measures of proactive strategy: the investment
behaviour and the introduction of new products on the market.

Findings: We find evidence that the experience of the former crisis by the company is
associated with the adoption of proactive behaviour in the case of investments in
innovation, and reactive behaviour in the case of the product offer range.

Implications & Recommendations: As the public support for innovative investments
proved to be rather ineffective, the most promising direction for public policies in the
times of crisis are those that facilitate the access to external financing.

Contribution & Value Added: Our paper contributes to the development of
knowledge on the dynamics of company behaviour in the wake of the economic crisis
in 2008, and to the better understanding of the determinants of proactive behaviour
of enterprises within the context of rising uncertainty.



proactive behaviour, crisis reaction, investment, product introduction


Author Biography

Jan Brzozowski

Research Fellow at Department of Economics and Social Sciences (DISES), Facolta  di Economia "Giorgio Fua", Universita  Politecnica delle Marche, Ancona (Italy). PhD in Economics at Cracow University of Economics (Poland).

Marco Cucculelli

PhD in Economics from the University of Rome Tor Vergata, Italy. He is Associate Professor at the Department of Economics and Social Sciences, Universita  Politecnica delle Marche.

He has been a Visiting Professor at the Kelley School of Business, Indiana University (USA), the School of Economics and Finance, St. Andrews University (Scotland), the Cracow University of Economics Dept of European Studies (Poland) and the George Washington University Dept of Management (Washington DC, USA).

He is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Small Business Management, co-editor of the EM-Journal of Applied Economics and sits on the editorial board of La Industria.

He is the Director of the Giorgio Fua  Foundation, a member of the Money and Finance Research Group (MoFiR), and Research Director of the ISTAO Business School.

In 2011 he has been elected  as Director at-large to the Board of the International Council for Small Business and Entrepreneurship - ICSB, Washington, D.C. (USA).


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