Act or Wait-and-See? Adversity, Agility, and Entrepreneur Wellbeing across Countries during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Research output: Journal contributionsJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


  • Ute Stephan
  • Przemysław Zbierowski
  • Ana Pérez-Luño
  • Dominika Wach
  • Johan Wiklund
  • Marisleidy Alba Cabañas
  • Edgard Barki
  • Alexandre Benzari
  • Claudia Bernhard-Oettel
  • Janet A. Boekhorst
  • Arobindu Dash
  • Adnan Efendic
  • Constanze Eib
  • Pierre Jean Hanard
  • Tatiana Iakovleva
  • Satoshi Kawakatsu
  • Saddam Khalid
  • Michael Leatherbee
  • Jun Li
  • Sharon K. Parker
  • And 11 others
  • Jingjing Qu
  • Francesco Rosati
  • Sreevas Sahasranamam
  • Marcus A.Y. Salusse
  • Tomoki Sekiguchi
  • Nicola Thomas
  • Olivier Torrès
  • Mi Hoang Tran
  • Michael K. Ward
  • Amanda Jasmine Williamson
  • Muhammad Mohsin Zahid

How can entrepreneurs protect their wellbeing during a crisis? Does engaging agility (namely, opportunity agility and planning agility) in response to adversity help entrepreneurs safeguard their wellbeing? Activated by adversity, agility may function as a specific resilience mechanism enabling positive adaption to crisis. We studied 3162 entrepreneurs from 20 countries during the COVID-19 pandemic and found that more severe national lockdowns enhanced firm-level adversity for entrepreneurs and diminished their wellbeing. Moreover, entrepreneurs who combined opportunity agility with planning agility experienced higher wellbeing but planning agility alone lowered wellbeing. Entrepreneur agility offers a new agentic perspective to research on entrepreneur wellbeing.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEntrepreneurship: Theory and Practice
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)682-723
Number of pages42
Publication statusPublished - 05.2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The Polish and UK studies and the coordination of this research project were co-funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 793117 (‘Positive Entrepreneurship’). The Polish study was also supported by Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Katowice, Startup City Zabrze, BusinessLink Katowice, Catholic Ministry of Entrepreneurs and Employers “Talent” and The Club of Entrepreneurial Women “Positive in Business”. The UK study was also supported by King's Business School, the National Enterprise Network, Westminster Business Council, Midtown Business Club, Hammersmith & Fulham Chamber of Commerce, Southwark Chamber of Commerce, Spitafields Small Business Association, Make it Ealing, Ealing Acton Business Club, StartUp Richmond, Barking and Dagenham Chamber of Commerce, Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce and Newham Chamber of Commerce. In Australia the study was supported by the Australian Research Council funding FL160100033. In Bosnia and Herzegovina the study was supported by the Ministry of Education, Science and Youth of Sarajevo Canton. In Canada the study was supported in part by funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. In Chile the study was supported by CORFO and the Aubery Chernick Foundation. In Denmark and Italy, the study was supported and funded by the Centre for Technology Entrepreneurship, Technical University of Denmark. In France the study was supported and funded by the LabEx Entreprendre (University of Montpellier and Montpellier Business School) (ANR-10-Labex-11-01, funded by the French government) and by the public research center Montpellier Research in Management (University of Montpellier). We would like to thank the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the department of Pyrénées Orientales which participated in setting up the French part of this survey. In Germany the study was funded by the TransCampus grant, supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), TransCampus is a partnership of King's College London and Technische Universität Dresden. In Japan the study was supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number JP 20H01530. In New Zealand the study was funded by Waikato Management School, the University of Waikato, and supported by the Waikato Chamber of Commerce and the Sustainable Business Council. The Norwegian study was supported and funded by the Center for Innovation Research at the University of Stavanger Business School. In Spain the study was co-funded by Fondo Europeo de Desarrollo Regional (FEDER) and Junta de Andalucía's Consejería de Transformación Económica, Industria, Conocimiento y Universidades, under the operational program FEDER Andalucía 2014-2020; Thematic Objective 01 - «Refuerzo de la investigación, el desarrollo tecnológico y la innovación» and Specific Objective 1.2.3. «Fomento y generacin de conocimiento frontera y de conocimiento orientado a los retos de la sociedad, desarrollo de tecnologías emergentes», through reference research project (PY20_00856). Co-financing percentage FEDER 80%. In addition, this paper is part of the Grant PID2020-114751RB-I00, funded by MCIN/AEI/10.13039/501100011033. In Sweden the study was supported by the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (FORTE) Grant no 2017-01063 and Grant no 2019-01311.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.

    Research areas

  • adversity, agility, COVID-19 pandemic, crisis, entrepreneurship, life satisfaction, resilience, stress, subjective vitality, wellbeing
  • Management studies