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Determinants of small firm growth: an investigation of the role of owner-manager, firm and business strategy characteristics

Hynes, Briga (2010) Determinants of small firm growth: an investigation of the role of owner-manager, firm and business strategy characteristics. (PhD thesis), Kingston University.

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This thesis is an investigation of the internal determinants of small firm growth in Ireland. This research study contributes to the understanding of small firm growth from two perspectives. Firstly, it assesses the contribution that the small firm sector made to the Irish economy during the period 1994 to 2005. Secondly, against this background it identifies the relative importance of the internal determinants of small firm growth in a sample of small firms. A variety of owner-manager characteristics, firm characteristics and strategic factors were investigated with a view to identifying if common characteristics were distinguishable amongst high-growth firms. Three measures were used to assess firm growth - employment, turnover and turnover per employee. The research approach incorporated a quantitative study (face-face interviews) with 80 owner-managers in the Mid-West region of Ireland. The results of the empirical study suggest that firm size, age, industry sector are important when seeking to understand high-growth firms. In addition owner-manager age and educational levels were found to be important predictors of high firm growth. Other findings revealed that some of the accepted concepts such as motivation, career history and strategic focus need to be re-examined in their use as predictors of higher small firm growth. Ultimately, it is difficult to define a precise set of internal determinants of small firm growth, due to the unpredictability of the concept and the heterogeneity of the small firm sector. That said, with the profile of high-growth firms presented in the study government agencies can become more familiar with what to look for in screening potential high-growth firms, and thus be better informed to develop appropriate supports to achieve sustainable firm growth. It is vital that government policy adopt a more holistic approach, which, inter-alia, focuses on the development of established small firms and focus attention on productivity, developing greater export activity, and building the competencies and skills of owner-managers for strategy development. The significance of the role of education on firm growth should be acknowledged in third level educational policy.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Physical Location: This item is held in stock at Kingston University Library.
Faculty, School or Research Centre: Faculty of Business and Law
Depositing User: Automatic Import Agent
Date Deposited: 09 Sep 2011 21:39
Last Modified: 23 May 2014 13:26

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