Munich Personal RePEc Archive

On the consequences of firm growth

Freel, Mark and Gordon, Ian (2020): On the consequences of firm growth. Forthcoming in: International Small Business Journal (2022)

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Recent contributions to the literature on small firm growth have been marked by a growing sense of frustration with the state-of-the-art and what it implicates in both theory and policy. In short, while growth events appear relatively common, a tiny proportion of firms sustain growth and ‘scale’; calling into question the very basis of policies seeking to target high growth firms (HGFs). We argue that understanding the frequency of growth events and the rarity of sustained growth requires a better understanding of growth consequences. To this end, we report case study evidence from ambitious entrepreneurs whose firms had experienced an episode of high growth followed by longer periods of mixed performance. Our goal is to shed light on how the experience of growing affects further growth. Our data provide initial insights into the mechanisms linking past growth to growth motivations and into the ways in which past growth lays the foundations for future performance.

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