Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to develop a conceptual framework to explain the firm growth process based on an integration and extension, through empirical research, of Penrose’s theory of the growth of the firm and the resource-based view. Theoretical development within the firm growth literature has been noticeably limited. Firm growth studies use different theoretical bases and what is needed is integration of multiple theories and empirical testing of these to form a new conceptual framework capable of explaining the modern growth process fully. 

Design/methodology/approach: The key perspectives are critically reviewed and integrated and empirical qualitative research is undertaken analysing the process of growth in two firms. Semi-structured interviews, participant observation and analysis of company documentation are utilised. 

Findings: The key insight this research provides is detailed information with regard to which resources, mediators and outputs are vital to firm growth, how they need to be developed and why this is the case. The study shows that these act in a cyclical nature to enable firm growth and development. 

Practical implications: These findings could be used by practitioners to determine which part of the conceptual framework requires the most amount of improvement and which are developed to an acceptable state, enabling them to make plans for the achievement of growth. 

Originality/value: This research is able to reconceptualise two dominant theoretical perspectives resulting in the generation of a new firm growth framework, thereby addressing a distinct gap in the firm growth literature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)930-959
JournalJournal of Small Business and Enterprise Development
Issue number6
Early online date11 Jun 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Jun 2018

    Research areas

  • Framework, Growth theory, Penrose, RBV

ID: 2270404