Garnsey, E and Heffernan, P (2005) Growth setbacks in new firms. Futures, 37. pp. 675-697. ISSN 0016-3287Full text not available from this repository.
New firms in emerging industries are subject to complex dynamic processes which defy the attempts at prediction embodied in business conjectures. Discontinuous growth is common, but the issue of interruptions in the early growth of new firms has not been adequately addressed in the mainstream literature. We examine the prevalence of interruptions to growth in a cohort study of the growth trajectories of firms founded in 1990, then look to cases studies of individual firms to investigate underlying causes. We find that substantial growth is rare and continuous growth unusual, and that growth interruptions are the result of both internal and external dynamics. The managers of growing firms face shortages of vital resources and significant problems of resource synchronisation and coordination, many of which can lead to what are, in effect, changes of phase state. Meanwhile, the volatile environment of an emerging industry presents particular problems to young firms which have not yet built up reserves to sustain them through short-term crises. However, problem solving by those that survive provides an important source of learning which can underpin their future development. © 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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