Qualitative Group Research Project: COVID-19 crisis

Posted On Mar 05 2021

Assignment Structure and content

This assignment has the form of a written essay.

The structure of the essay is as follows:

A. Title page with clearly stated title of the qualitative group assignment, authors, course, date and place

B. Body text

C. References

D. Appendixes

Body text

1. Describe from a qualitative perspective the research problem based on the text proved below and on academic research found in the four articles (extra articles are allowed). Incorporate the research aim, research question and subquestions. The information from the academic articles should be synthesised and used to write the introductory section of the essay.

2. Develop a corresponding theoretical framing for the research question (describe the examined phenomenon, define the sensitising concepts, explain the theoretical lens and provide the main points of critique/gaps found in literature).

3. Describe the applied research methodology for data collection and data analysis and particularly: a. Explain the sampling universe and inclusion and exclusion criteria to explain which participants are included in the research and explain why b. Develop the interview protocol including an interview questionnaire consisting of four questions and do as follows: i. Describe the type of interview that is used in the assignment ii. Explain why this type of interview is used in relation to the research question and research objectives iii. Describe how the interview questionnaire is structured iv. Describe how the interview questions are formulated to avoid bias

4. Collect interview data from 4 respondents and apply the interview questionnaire and the interview techniques. Place the interview transcripts in the appendix

5. Analyse the collected data (using coding) and present the findings

6. Provide conclusions and recommendations.


Topic of assignment

The COVID-19 pandemic has generated an unpresented economic and social crisis. It is reported that the COVID-19 crisis currently challengesthe survival and growth of the majority of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Europe but also in the Netherlands. The United Nations for Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD) predicts that on the medium- and long-term SMEs will suffer from economic recession reduced income and unemployment. For example, over 20% of SMEs in the Netherlands foresee the bankruptcy if the corona crisis persists. The isolation and social distancing measures undertaken by many governments during the first wave of COVID-19 have undermined the existing SMEs’ operations. It is suggested that entrepreneurship at the national level is challenged by several COVID-19-related obstacles which comprise among others: administrative burdens, governmental restrictions, regulatory uncertainties, obstacles in periods of pandemic which are tailored to the entrepreneur, such as access to healthcare and paid sick leave and finally obstacles due to the limited access to funding. In order to overcome the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, SMEs should be able to rely on a well-functioning supply chain and sufficient production factors, such as labour. The main obstacle lies in the demand side because consumers even when the COVID-19 subsides, will remain cautious in their purchasing and consuming strategy. The SMEs need to adjust and to adapt to the new circumstances to remain in business. Besides the existences of the foregoing challenges, SMEs can use the health crisis to contribute to innovation, e.g. increasing digitalisation of society, that have occurred as a result of COVID-19. Nyenrode Business Universiteit (Nyenrode) is a private university which focuses predominantly on the promotion of entrepreneurship in education and in research. Entrepreneurship is in the core of Nyenrode’s mission. Furthermore, Nyenrode aims to equip young entrepreneurs and future leaders with the necessary knowledge to deal with barriers to entrepreneurship generated in the time of pandemic. Key players at NBU are therefore keen on learning and acquiring an in depth understanding of obstacles to entrepreneurship due to the COVID-19 crisis. Also, they are interested in understanding the reasons behind the existence of these barriers.

You are asked to explore the issue from a qualitative perspective. All of the following academic articles must be used in the development of the assignment

Kuckertz, A. et al. (2020). Startups in times of crisis - A rapid response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Business Venturing Insights, 13, e00169.

Zahra, S. A. (2020). International entrepreneurship in the post Covid world. Journal of World Business, 101143.

Kouriloff, M. (2000). Exploring Perceptions of A Priori Barriers to Entrepreneurship: A Multidisciplinary Approach. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 25(2), 59-80.

Juergensen, J., GuimoĢn, J., & Narula, R. (2020). European SMEs amidst the COVID-19 crisis: assessing impact and policy responses. Journal of Industrial and Business Economics, 47(3), 499-510.

Central phenomenon:

Changes in employee mental wellbeing in regards to changes to their working environment (such as working from home) as a result of the pandemic.

Research problem: The purpose of this study is to gain a better understanding of the changes in employee mental well being for employees of SME’s. At this stage in the research, the employee's mental well being in regards to their remote working conditions will be generally defined as mental wellbeing.

Research question: How is the mental wellbeing of employees at SMEs affected by the remote working conditions needed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic? Sub-questions: What defines ‘remote working conditions’? How have job and financial insecurities impacted employee’s mental wellbeing? How have these changes impacted the performance for SMEs? What is the vision of employees in regards to physical presence after the pandemic crisis is over?

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