Chapter 4: Are we comparing apples with apples or apples with oranges? Appropriateness of knowledge accumulation across growth studies
Firm growth has long been a topic of interest to scholars. By investigating the causes of firm growth, researchers gain insights into the drivers of this key dimension of firm performance (Wennekers & Thurik, 1999) and the key drivers of economies (Birch, 1977). Although we have undoubtedly made progress in our understanding of firm growth, mixed results cast a shadow of uncertainty over this collection of works (Davidsson & Wiklund, 2000; Weinzimmer, Nystrom, & Freeman, 1998). Although Davidsson and Wiklund and Weinzimmer et al. have proposed that methodological differences across studies have contributed, at least in part, to these mixed results, there has been insufficient investigation of which methodological differences produce mixed results and when results are robust across methodological differences. Weinzimmer et al. (1998) made a substantial contribution to the growth literature by taking a number of steps toward empirically investigating these issues. First, they find that there is a weak correlation between different indicators of growth (sales, employment, or assets) and between different formulae for computing growth (absolute, relative, and regression line).
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