Improving the resilience of SMEs: Policy and practice in New Zealand
Tracy Hatton, Erica Seville, John Vargo
Report prepared as part of an APEC project on SME Resilience. Resilient Organisations Research Report 2012/12
There are many things that organisations of any size can do to prepare for a disaster or crisis. Traditionally, the advice given to business has focused on identifying risks, reducing their likely occurrence, and planning in advance how to respond. More recently, there is growing interest in the broader concept of organisational resilience which includes planning for crisis bu also considers traits that lead to organisational adaptability and ability to thrive despite adverse circumstances. In this paper we examine the policy frameworks within New Zealand that influence the resilience of small and medium sized businesses (SMEs). The first part of the paper focuses on the New Zealand context, including the prevailing political and economic ideologies, the general nature of New Zealand SMEs and the nature of New Zealand’s hazard environment. The paper then goes on to outline the key policy frameworks in place relevant to SMEs and hazards. The final part of the paper examines the way the preexisting policy environment influenced the response of SMEs and Government following the Canterbury earthquakes. Whilst this report’s focus is on the SME sector, it is clear from both the disaster research tradition and responses from public sector and businesses interviewed in this research that consideration must be given to their interdependencies. SMEs are reliant on many things, particularly critical infrastructure such as power, water, telecommunications and transport links. Additional interdependencies relate to suppliers, staff and customers. The preparedness of SMEs cannot be viewed in isolation as any significant failure in other sectors is likely to have an impact on their performance.