Chapter 6: Towards an integrative framework for future research on small firm growth
Our review has demonstrated that small firm growth is a complex phenomenon. The concept ‘growth’ denotes both a change in amount and the process by which that change is attained. Further, the growth can be achieved in different ways and with varying degrees of regularity, and it manifests itself along several different dimensions such as sales, employment, and accumulation of assets. This complexity has naturally led researchers to adopt different approaches to studying growth and to use different measures to assess it. Further, although our review shows that it can fruitfully be regarded as a growth issue, the research on small firms’ internationalization has largely developed as a separate stream. Similarly, other relatively separate literatures have evolved, which effectively focus on different modes of growth although mostly without regarding the studies first and foremost as growth studies. This goes for topics such as mergers and acquisitions, diversification, and integration – research streams which have largely ignored the particularities of small firms and which in turn have been largely ignored among researchers focusing on small firm growth.
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