Chapter 6: What Do They Think and Feel About Growth? An Expectancy–Value Approach to Small Business Managers’ Attitudes Toward Growth
*1 Johan Wiklund, Per Davidsson, Frédéric Delmar INTRODUCTION In this chapter we investigate how small business managers’ beliefs concerning the consequences of growth influence their overall growth attitude. We find this to be an important question. Although previous research has shown that small firm growth is the most important source of new jobs (Davidsson, Lindmark and Olofsson, 1994, 1996; Kirchhoff, 1994; Reynolds and White, 1997), there are also clear indications that many small business managers deliberately refrain from exploiting opportunities to expand their firms. We test the influence of the eight most important perceived consequences of growth on the overall growth attitude in three separate, large-scale surveys of small business managers. Previous research suggests that there is reason to more carefully assess the role of growth motivation when examining firm growth. Many small business managers are not willing to pursue growth (Davidsson, 1989a, 1989b; Delmar, 1996; Gundry and Welsch, 2001; Storey, 1994). An important implication of this is that many small firms do not realize their full growth potential (Scott and Rosa, 1996), which may constitute a source of great under-utilization of resources. Our knowledge of why small business managers vary so greatly in their growth motivation is still limited. It constitutes an area worthy of further investigation, as research that examines the effect of growth motivation on subsequent business growth finds support for a positive relationship (Bellu and Sherman, 1995; Kolvereid and Bullvåg, 1996; Miner, Smith and Bracker, 1994; Mok and van den Tillaart, 1990).2...
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