The early stages of growth in micro-firms
Hänninen, Kai; Jokela, Harri; Saarela, Martti; Muhos, Matti (2017-05-17)
Hänninen, K., Jokela, H., Saarela, M. and Muhos, M. (2017)The Early Stages of Growth in Micro-Firms In: MakeLearn 2017: Management Challenges in a Network Economy, Proceedings of the MakeLearn and TIIM International Conference17-19 May 2017, Lublin, Poland p. 227-236
© 2017 International School for Social and Business Studies. Published under the terms of the Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 License.
Micro-firms are a dominant group in every economy. However, in the current literature, little attention has been paid to this SME subgroup. Thus, new context-specific knowledge on the early stages of micro-firm growth is needed to strengthen business environments and to develop business support services. The aim of this study was to investigate the growth of independently owned technology- or service-based micro-firms in northern sparsely populated areas (NSPAs) in Finland. This domain has not been extensively studied.
This study can be condensed into the following research questions: (1) How do the owner-managers of NSPA micro-firms evaluate their firms’ current stages of growth? and (2) How do the stage descriptions in the self-evaluation frameworks correspond with the experiences of the micro-firms’ owner-managers? This retrospective multiple-case study synthesised two empirically-based stage models into two self-evaluation frameworks—one for technology-based firms and one for service-based firms. We tested the two four-stage frameworks to describe current stages of 62 technology- or service-based micro-firms.
First, we determined the current stage of growth for each micro-firm. Second, we explored the applicability of the self-evaluation frameworks to the experiences of the micro-firms’ owner-managers. The results indicated that the self-evaluation frameworks were a relatively good match for the growth experiences of each firm. Both frameworks may help researchers to provide more accurate data on the growth of technology- and service-based micro-firms.
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