Disruptions, Redundancy Strategies, and Performance of Small Firms: Evidence from Uganda

Kundu, A, Anderson, S J and Ramdas, K (2024) Disruptions, Redundancy Strategies, and Performance of Small Firms: Evidence from Uganda. Management Science. ISSN 0025-1909 (In Press) OPEN ACCESS


We study the impact of firm-specific business disruptions on the performance of small emerging market firms and test the effectiveness of building in redundancies to buffer against disruptions. Managerial disruptions result in the absence of the entrepreneur-owner, whereas operational disruptions lead to a shortage of critical resources, for example, inventory or electricity. We propose the use of relational redundancy—that is, the availability of a trusted and capable person with whom the entrepreneur-owner has an existing relationship, who can manage the business in his or her absence—to recover from managerial disruptions. We also examine whether resource redundancy—for example, maintaining safety stock or electricity backup—helps recover from operational disruptions. In the absence of publicly available data, we hand-built a panel data set by interviewing 646 randomly selected small firms over four time periods in Kampala, Uganda. We find that disruptions are highly prevalent and have a statistically and economically significant effect on firm performance. When a firm faces multiple exogenous and severe disruptions in a six-month period, its monthly sales decrease by 13.8% (p = 0.013), and its sales growth decreases by 18.8 percentage points (p = 0.070). Importantly, we find that both managerial and resource redundancies can help firms build resilience against the negative impact of disruptions. In some cases, firms with high levels of redundancy are able to completely overcome the negative effect of disruptions on sales and sales growth. We discuss implications for entrepreneurs, policymakers, and large multinationals that buy from or sell to small emerging market firms.

More Details

Item Type: Article
Subject Areas: Management Science and Operations
Additional Information:

© 2024 INFORMS

Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2023 15:26
Date of first compliant deposit: 10 Oct 2022
Subjects: Uganda
Small business
Operations planning
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2024 12:06
URI: https://lbsresearch.london.edu/id/eprint/2642

Export and Share


Accepted Version - Text
Supplemental Material - Text


View details on Dimensions' website

Downloads from LBS Research Online

View details

Actions (login required)

Edit Item Edit Item