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Trigger points and high-growth firms: A conceptualisation and review of public policy implications

Brown R & Mawson S (2013) Trigger points and high-growth firms: A conceptualisation and review of public policy implications. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 20 (2), pp. 279-295.

Purpose - As a means of contributing to the literature surrounding the evolution and growth of firms, this paper seeks to outline the explanatory concept of growth trigger points. It aims to examine the forces that propel firms towards different stages of growth and argues that high-growth firms (HGFs) often encounter important "trigger points" that can affect their growth capabilities. The paper's main aim is to define, conceptualise and illustrate the role of trigger points in promoting rapid growth within businesses. Design/methodology/approach - The primary methodological approach used was intensive case study research of HGFs in Scotland. The case studies, 40 firms in total, were compiled using a mixed method research approach that included, inter alia, background desk research, firm interviews and interviews with business advisers. Findings - The research discovered that growth trigger points are extremely diverse and play a major role in shaping the growth trajectory of firms, and highlights three main types of trigger points. While trigger points can fundamentally reconfigure organisations, providing a catalyst for a business to undertake a period of rapid, transformative growth, these events can conversely cause severe organisational turbulence or even decline. Often the critical period determining the ultimate success of the growth opportunity presented is the post-trigger transition period identified by the authors. Practical implications - The paper aims to inform public policy on how to support high-growth entrepreneurship. From a policy perspective, understanding these trigger points is essential for helping policymakers to prioritise and optimise their interventions to help promote rapid firm growth. Originality/value - The paper's unique contribution to the literature is to help conceptualise how firms move along a growth trajectory, by introducing the novel concept of growth "trigger points". The paper also seeks to inform public policy, so that interventions can be better attuned to the requirements of dynamic growth businesses.

Business development; Entrepreneurship; Firm growth; High-growth firms; Public policy; Trigger points

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development: Volume 20, Issue 2

Author(s)Brown, Ross; Mawson, Suzanne
Publication date31/12/2013
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