Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Call for journal papers. Special Issue on The process of firm growth

Call for papers

Journal of Entrepreneurship, Management And Innovation

Entrepreneurship thematic area

The process of firm growth

Edited by:
  • Marta Gancarczyk, Jagiellonian University, Poland
  • Jon Mikel Zabala-Iturriagagoitia, University of Deusto, Spain

Contemporary research on firm growth has been vitally developing since the 1980s, when the phenomenon of gazelles was described as both critical to economic growth and rare in the population of enterprises (Birch, 1981, 1994; Storey, 1994; Coad, 2009; Acs et al., 2008). Studies on firm growth have evolved into three major streams (Davidsson et al., 2006; McKelvie and Wiklund, 2010). The first is directed at growth as an outcome, identifying the determinants and predictors of expansion, such as the characteristics of the entrepreneur(s), the firm and its strategy (Storey, 1994; Barringer et al., 2005; Coad, 2009). The second stream focuses on the outcomes of growth, exploring the conditions and methods of managing the company that expanded its scope and size, and is reflected in the stage or life-cycle models (Levie and Lichtenstein, 2010). Finally, the third and most current stream intends to explore the process of growth, i.e. how expansion is implemented and achieved, in terms of the entrepreneurial motives, economic rationale, mechanisms, environmental influences and modes (organic, external/acquisitive or hybrid modes, such as joint venture, licensing or franchising) (Davidsson et al., 2006; McKelvie and Wiklund, 2010; Stam, 2010; Leitch et al., 2010; Wright and Stigliani, 2013).

Major theoretical foundations of firm growth were laid by E. Penrose (1959) and evolutionary economists (Nelson and Winter, 1982) and they further developed into the resource-based approach to decision-making on firm scope and size (Peteraf, 1993, Wernerfelt, 1984; Barney, 1991; Hamel and Prahalad, 1990; Kogut and Zander, 1992). Concepts such as core competence and core-related capabilities, absorptive capacity (Cohen and Levinthal, 1990; Zahra and George, 2002) and dynamic capabilities (Teece et al., 1997, Teece, 2007) have explanatory power as to the motives and rationale for expansion). The heterogeneity of firm capabilities is reflected in the differences in their competitive positions and the ways firms achieve growth. The resource-based view of the firm, is often confronted but also combined with more external, environment-oriented view of transaction cost theory (Williamson, 1999; Tsang, 2000; Foss, 2005; Argyres and Zenger, 2012). This approach is particularly relevant for considering how firms can grow (mechanisms and modes of expanding the firm boundaries – i.e. their scope and size) (McKelvie and Wiklund, 2010; Williamson, 1975, 2005). It can be thus posited that the expansion process results from the assessment of capabilities and expected value relative to uncertainty and transaction costs.

We invite both theoretical and empirical papers that discuss the broad issue of firm growth process, namely:

  • - Entrepreneurial motivations and attitudes towards growth: opportunity exploitation, perceptions of risk and uncertainty;
  • - Economic rationale for growth: increasing value and strengthening the competitive position, strengthening the position relative to buyers and suppliers;
  • - Stimuli and impediments to company growth at the firm, industry and country levels;
  • - Mechanisms of growth: including causal relationships among the growth determinants (success factors and barriers), and the logic of the expansion, such as capability exploitation or exploration;
  • - Different modes of expansion, namely, organic, acquisitive and hybrid forms, including joint ventures, licensing and franchising; criteria of the mode choice, benefits, challenges, and performance outcomes from these specific modes;
  • - Science-based entrepreneurship as a possible mechanism for firm growth: drivers and impediments of knowledge transfer with a special emphasis on science-based industries; evaluation of public policy for science-based entrepreneurship – rationale, stakeholder groups, outcomes;
  • - Innovations as drivers of firm growth: the role of product, process, organizational and marketing innovations and their scope (newness for the world, for the firm and for its market);
  • - Economic relevance of firm growth at the national and regional levels: inputs into employment, value added, exporting activities, etc.

One-page abstracts should be sent to, by May 1, 2015. The authors of the proposals that fit into the theme of the special issue will be invited to submit a full paper by October 1, 2015. The papers will undergo a double-blind review. Submissions must be in English, should be no more than 15 pages single spaced in length (up to 8000 words), and follow the submission requirements posted on the JEMI website at The publication is planned as issue 1 in 2016.


  • Acs, Z., Parsons, W., Tracy, S. (2008). High-Impact Firms: Gazelles Revisited. Washington: Small Business Administration.
  • Argyres, N., Zenger, T. (2012). Capabilities, Transaction Costs, and Firm Boundaries. Organization Science, 23(6), 1643-1657.
  • Barney, J. (1991). Firm Resources and Sustained Competitive Advantage. Journal of Management, 17(1), 99-120.
  • Barringer, B., Jones, F. & Neubaum, D. (2005). A Quantitative Content Analysis of the Characteristics of Rapid-Growth Firms and Their Founders. Journal of Business Venturing, 20(5), 663-687.
  • Birch, D., Medoff, J. (1994). Gazelles [in:] Solmon, L, Levenson, A. (eds.), Labor Markets, Employment Policy and Job Creation. Boulder: Westview Press, 159-168.
  • Birch, D. (1981). Who Creates Jobs? The Public Interest, 65, 3-14.
  • Coad, A. (2009). The Growth of Firms: A Survey of Theories and Empirical Evidence. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
  • Cohen, W., Levinthal, D. (1990), Absorptive Capacity: A New Perspective on Learning and Innovation. Administrative Sciences Quarterly, 35(1), 128-152.
  • Davidsson, P., Delmar, F. & Wiklund, J. (2006). Entrepreneurship and the Growth of Firms. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
  • Foss, K., Foss, N. (2005). Resources and Transaction Costs: How Property Rights Economics Furthers the Resource-Based View. Strategic Management Journal, 26(6), 541.
  • Hamel, G., Prahalad, C. (1990), The Core Competence of Corporation. Harvard Business Review, 68(5-6), 600-620.
  • Kogut, B., Zander, U. (1992). Knowledge of the Firm, Combinative Capabilities, and the Replication of Technology, Organization Science, 3(3), 383–397.
  • Leitch, C., Hill, F. & Neergaard, H. (2010). Entrepreneurial and Business Growth and the Quest for a Compre­hensive Theory: Tilting at Windmills? Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 34(2), 249–260.
  • Levie, J., Lichtenstein, B. (2010). A Terminal Assessment of Stages Theory: Introducing a Dynamic States Approach to Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 34(2): 317-350.
  • McKelvie, A., Wiklund, J. (2010). Advancing Firm Growth Research: A Focus on Growth Mode instead of Growth Rate. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 34(2), 261-288.
  • Nelson, R., Winter, S. (1982). An Evolutionary Theory of Economic Change. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
  • Penrose, E. (1959). The Theory of the Growth of the Firm. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Peteraf, M. (1993). The Cornerstones of Competitive Advantage: A Resources-Based View. Strategic Management Journal, 14(3), 179-191.
  • Stam, E. (2010). Growth beyond Gibrat: Firm Growth Processes and Strategies. Small Business Economics, 35(2), 129-135.
  • Storey, D. (1994). Understanding the Small Business Sector. London: Routledge.
  • Teece, D. (2007), Explicating Dynamic Capabilities: The Nature and Microfoundations of (Sustainable) Enterprise Performance. Strategic Management Journal, 28(13), 1319-1350.
  • Teece, D., Pisano G. & Shuen, A. (1997). The Dynamic Capabilities of Firms: An Introduction. Industrial and Corporate Change, 3(3), 537-556.
  • Tsang, E. (2000). Transaction Cost and Resource-Based Explanations of Joint Ventures: A Comparison and Synthesis. Organization Studies, 21(1), 215-242.
  • Wernerfelt, B. (1984). A Resource-Based View of the Firm. Strategic Management Journal, 5(2), 171-180.
  • Williamson, O. (1975). Markets and Hierarchies: Analysis and Antitrust Implications. New York: The Free Press.
  • Williamson, O. (1999). Strategy Research: Governance and Competence Perspectives. Strategic Management Journal, 20(12), 1087–1108.
  • Williamson, O. (2005). The Economics of Governance. The American Economic Review, 95(2), 1-18.
  • Wright, M., Stigliani, I. (2013). Entrepreneurship and Growth. International Small Business Journal, 31(1), 3-22.
  • Zahra, S., George, G. (2002). Absorptive Capacity: A Review, Reconceptualization, and Extension. Academy of Management, 27(2), 185-203.