Entrepreneurship: The Way Ahead

By Harold P. Welsch | Go to book overview

Chapter 9

Jianwen Liao
Northeastern Illinois University


ENTREPRENEURIAL GROWTH: PREDICTORS AND INDICATORS

Introduction

ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND SMALL BUSINESSES have been designated as the "engines of growth" because they create jobs, not only in the United States (Birch 1987) but also in developing and privatizing economies across the globe. Governments and policy-makers have become keenly aware of the economic development benefits that are derived from the establishment and growth of entrepreneurial endeavors.

In the last 20 years, the amount of literature in the growth field has increased tremendously. Organization and entrepreneurship scholars have increasingly recognized the importance of the research on new ventures (Carter et al. 1994; Eisenhardt and Schoonhoven 1990; Romanelli 1989). Indeed, entrepreneurial growth has been seen as a valuable outcome of administrative and technological innovation (Tushman and Anderson 1986), job creation (Birley 1986), and the competitive disciplining of industries (Scherer and Ross 1990). Growth intentions and enterprise expansion have been investigated through various conceptual approaches, from economics, organizational behavior, and strategic management, to name just a few.

However, a coherent theory of entrepreneurial growth is lacking (Ardishvili et al. 1998), despite the recent progress on growth studies. The field of entrepreneurial growth research has been plagued by the fact that there is no commonly accepted definition and measure of growth. For that reason, results of studies often contradict one another. Consequently, there is little cumulative research. The fact that research takes place across very diverse theoretical frameworks and that few integrative studies have been developed does not help move the field forward.

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