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Title: Assessing the vulnerability and resilience of SMEs to climate variations and extremes in Mexico
Author: Oca, Paola Hernandez Montes
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2013
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Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play a crucial role in the economic system, as they represent a means of subsistence for local communities and are a significant source of employment. If their existence was to become affected by climate impacts, economic development could be compromised, particularly in developing contexts. The objective of this research is thus to provide an assessment of the vulnerability and resilience of SMEs to climate variations and extremes. The study was conducted in two coastal localities in Mexico prone to tropical storms and flooding. Based on a mixed-methods approach, the data was obtained by means of a survey and semi-structured interviews, which was then analysed by quantitative and qualitative techniques. In this manner, this thesis makes four original contributions to knowledge. First, it offers a conceptually grounded and empirically .tested framework that allows looking at vulnerability and resilience as an inter-linked, multi-dimensional and dynamic process. Interdependencies are revealed between the dimensions of vulnerability and resilience, which are linked by short-term coping capacities. Second, the study reveals the pivotal role of exposure as a trigger of short-term responses, which constitute milestones to achieve adaptation in the long-run. Moreover, it is shown that when exposure is included in vulnerability assessments from a "post-disaster" perspective, the results can reveal past realisations of adaptation processes and lead to overestimations of vulnerability. Third, the thesis provides a set of robust indices to assess the vulnerability and resilience of SMEs. Its analysis reveals that SMEs in both localities are on average more vulnerable than resilient. However, a firm can be vulnerable, but can possess resilient traits. Fourth, it identifies endogenous and exogenous barriers to enhancing the resilience of firms in the localities. Overall, this thesis shows that it is crucial to foster transformational changes both within SMEs and across the social, economic and institutional contexts in which they are inserted.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available