The Development of a Growth Platform Model for Small to Medium Sized Knowledge Based Firms

  • Samantha Yandle

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    This research builds upon the firm growth literature, by developing a new model that details the factors that influence firm growth, how these factors develop over time, how and why they influence the firm and to what level they need to be developed to in order for growth to occur. The research adds to the firm growth literature through the creation of a holistic, process based model of firm growth that combines complimentary theories to create a new unified theory of firm development.

    A case study methodology was implemented, utilising a grounded theory approach. Two case companies were the subject of this research, one that is at an early stage of development and one that has already achieved high growth. 25 in-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted, with 12 different participants, as well as analysis of company documentation. Participant observation was also employed in one of the cases. An interpretive approach was taken consisting of iterations between data collection and data analysis. Data analysis followed the recommendations of grounded theory research methodology.

    The research contended that firm growth could only be fully understood through a process oriented, dynamic approach in which multiple theoretical and conceptual positions were considered and that this was neglected in existing research. The research finds that factor specific firm growth processes can be identified and that there are similarities in the way in which firms develop through these. From this it is possible to reach an explanation as to how these factors influence firm development and to what level they need to be developed to for growth to occur.

    The research concludes that:
    1) The factors influencing firm growth cannot be considered in isolation but need to be analysed holistically
    2) In order to explain how factors influence firm growth and development it is important to consider how each factor influences all other factors. It is this complex interaction which enables firm growth.
    3) In order to generate a model which is succinct, able to be disseminated practically and which provides practitioners, academics and policy makers with guidance as to how to achieve high growth it is vital to trace the developmental processes of firm growth factors
    4) The combination of existing theories and models with new concepts and phenomenon are vital in the development of new growth theory
    5) Firm growth is enabled through a combination of resources, mediating factors and output factors working together in a cyclical manner
    Date of AwardJun 2014
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorDylan Jones-Evans (Supervisor) & Hefin Rowlands (Supervisor)

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