Frontiers in European Entrepreneurship Research
Frontiers in European Entrepreneurship series
Edited by Mário Raposo, David Smallbone, Károly Balaton and Lilla Hortoványi
Chapter 3: Developing and Testing a Typology of Growth Strategies of Entrepreneurial IT Service Firms
Olivier Witmeur and Alain Fayolle1 INTRODUCTION Since the growth of entrepreneurial ventures is critical for job creation, but remains the exception rather than the rule, understanding the processes that drive it is an important issue for both academics and practitioners. Research on the growth of entrepreneurial ventures has proliferated over the last two decades. Literature review papers (e.g. O’Farrell and Hitchens, 1988; Davidsson et al., 2005; Gilbert et al., 2006) underline that most of the individual variables impacting growth have been investigated and have adopted multiple theoretical approaches. Unfortunately, although there has been major improvement, the work performed so far has generated conflicting results, lacked integration, paid insufficient attention to the connection with theory and should have been more longitudinal (e.g. Davidsson et al., 2005; Davidsson et al., 2006; Garnsey et al., 2006). Furthermore, it is now recognized that growth is a complex phenomenon and it can take very different forms on rather different time frames. As a consequence, it remains difficult to explain heterogeneous growth patterns that have been observed empirically (Delmar et al., 2003; Biga et al., 2007). In other words, entrepreneurship scholars acknowledge that growth patterns of new ventures are not idiosyncratic and recognize that further research is needed to increase our understanding of its how and why. To deal with the aforementioned concerns, Dess et al. (1997), Bantel (1998), Heirman and Clarysse (2004), Wiklund and Shepherd (2005) and Harms et al. (2009) advocate a configurational approach. This is attractive because it provides us with an integrated...
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