New Perspectives on Firm Growth

New Perspectives on Firm Growth

Per Davidsson and Johan Wiklund

This insightful volume presents a collection of innovative works by two of the leading researchers of firm growth. The studies extend previous research by providing stronger theoretical underpinnings and using longitudinal databases that can separate in time the firms’ growth from its presumed causes. They also break new ground by examining different modes of growth, such as sales growth vs. employment growth, and organic growth vs. acquisition-based expansion. Further, the studies investigate the drivers of firm growth and take a critical look at the effects, such as under what circumstances high growth is associated with high profitability.

Chapter 8: Performance configurations over time: implications for growth- and profit-oriented strategies

Paul Steffens, Per Davidsson and Jason Fitzsimmons

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, strategic management


Entrepreneurship research and practice places emphasis on company growth as a measure of entrepreneurial success. In many cases, there has been a tendency to give growth a very central role, with some researchers even seeing growth as the very essence of entrepreneurship (Cole, 1949; Sexton, 1997; Stevenson & Gumpert, 1991). A large number of empirical studies of the performance of young and/or small firms use growth as the dependent variable (see reviews by Ardishvili, Cardozo, Harmon, & Vadakath, 1998; Delmar, 1997; Wiklund, 1998). By contrast, the two most prominent views of strategic management – strategic positioning (Porter, 1980) and the resource-based view (Barney, 1991; Wernerfelt, 1984) – are both concerned with achieving competitive advantage and regard achieving economic rents and profitability relative to other competitors as the central measures of firm performance. Strategic entrepreneurship integrates these two perspectives and is simultaneously concerned with opportunity seeking and advantage seeking (Hitt, Ireland, Camp, & Sexton, 2002; Ireland, Hitt, & Sirmon, 2003). Consequently, both company growth and relative profitability are together relevant measures of firm performance in the domain of strategic entrepreneurship.

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