• Jonas Zinkevicius
4. semester, Forretningsinnovation, Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
Coronavirus pandemic has caught the world unprepared and businesses throughout the globe
were left to scramble for solutions as they witnessed customer behaviour becoming significantly
more conservative. This rapid transformation posed many opportunities to study multiple theories
and frameworks presented in business literature and observe how they are manifested in
real-life situations during the period of the health crisis. Therefore, the subject of understanding
how Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have developed their strategies and gained learning
as well as transformational capabilities was deemed highly relevant and worth investigating.

To reflect how SMEs have dealt with the challenges brought by the pandemic it was decided
to center this master’s thesis around introspective and retrospective analysis of qualitative
data collected during in-depth semi-structured interviews as well as various types of secondary
research. Based on initially collected and analysed information the final research question of
this master’s thesis was set: How small and medium enterprises in the auxiliary private
education sector have evolved their strategies and Dynamic Capabilities throughout the
Coronavirus pandemic and what can be learnt from it?

To understand multiple perspectives and put together a more detailed outlook on how businesses
have transformed during the pandemic it was chosen to conduct comparative multiple
case study with main focus on discovering how SMEs in the auxiliary private education sector
have developed their Dynamic Capabilities, formed strategies under uncertainty and demonstrated
capabilities of foresight as well as risks and crisis management.

As the research was mostly focused on understanding each case by conducting in-depth
interviews and analyzing them rather than developing a theory - content analysis was chosen
as the primary approach on data analysis. While analyzing collected data it was focused on
noticing patterns within multiple businesses as well as understanding how real-life strategies
reflect theoretical frameworks about Dynamic Capabilities and operating under uncertainty.

To pursue answering this question three semi-structured interviews were conducted with
auxiliary private education enterprises based in Lithuania. To keep consistency of data collection,
analysis and comparison, a set of prerequisites was established. By doing so it was assured
that the cases were exposed to similar dilemmas and market conditions in order to observe and
analyse most pronounced processes of customer behavior transformation and business alignment
to it.

Gained information during conducted interviews was condensed into cases in order to provide
a clear overview and present what were each business’ performed actions and executed
strategies. After primary analysis of each case was done, these cases were compared and analyzed
within a broader scope of the whole sector. To make parallels of similarities and differences
that these enterprises demonstrated it was aimed to provide equal amount of time and
significance for each analysed enterprise.

Following these analyses, the Discussion section was put together to use previously made
findings and interpret them in a broader context. This way it was sought to utilize data gathered
not only to provide analysis based on chosen theories and frameworks, but also to present broader
insights about the sector of auxiliary private education and its development. For this purpose
three main topics were covered: 1) External factors’ influence on SMEs in auxiliary private
education and their response to these circumstances, 2) Links of produced cases with covered
theory and how well it applies in the context of global health crisis, and 3) What trends in the
auxiliary private education sector could be expected in the near future?

Based on all collected information and analysis performed it was concluded that interviewed
businesses in the auxiliary private education sector changed their strategies by shifting their approach
of providing educational services from direct (physical) to remote (digital). This required
enterprises to further develop their Dynamic Capabilities and adapt to existing conditions by
proactively gauging rapidly shifting customer needs. It was learnt that businesses enjoying well
developed competitive advantage can be challenged greatly and even possessing attributes of
Dynamic Capabilities cannot provide complete immunity in the environment where customers’
behavior is shifting rapidly and unpredictably. Finally, strategic parts of Risk and Crisis Management
were mostly approached in an Ad Hoc manner and bears the question if proper Foresight
activities could have prepared these businesses for the health crisis and softened its impact
or did the Coronavirus crisis was the unforeseen factor that unpredictably reshaped the sector
enabling digital transformation which has formed a new path of how auxiliary private education
will evolve in the future.
Udgivelsesdato2 jun. 2021
Antal sider67
ID: 413527620