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Organic and Acquisitive Growth: Re‐examining, Testing and Extending Penrose's Growth Theory

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  • Andy Lockett
  • Johan Wiklund
  • Per Davidsson
  • Sourafel Girma

Abstract

Edith Penrose's theory of firm growth postulates that a firm's current growth rate will be influenced by the adjustment costs of, and changes to a firm's productive opportunity set arising from, previous growth. Although she explicitly considered the effect of previous organic growth on current organic growth, she was largely silent about the effect of previous acquisitive growth. In this paper we extend Penrose's work to examine how previous rates of organic and acquisitive growth influence current organic growth. Employing a panel of Swedish firms over a 10-year period, our results suggest the following. First, previous organic growth acts as a constraint on current organic growth. Second, previous acquisitive growth has a positive effect on current organic growth. We conclude that organic growth and acquisitive growth constitute two distinct strategic options facing the firm, which have a differential impact on the future organic growth of the firm.

Suggested Citation

  • Andy Lockett & Johan Wiklund & Per Davidsson & Sourafel Girma, 2011. "Organic and Acquisitive Growth: Re‐examining, Testing and Extending Penrose's Growth Theory," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(1), pages 48-74, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jomstd:v:48:y:2011:i:1:p:48-74
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1467-6486.2009.00879.x
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Alex Coad & Christina Guenther, 2014. "Processes of firm growth and diversification: theory and evidence," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 43(4), pages 857-871, December.
    2. Reddy, Kotapati Srinivasa, 2015. "Market for Corporate Control and Contractual Buyout (CoBO): A New “Collective Ownership-and-Administrative” Strategy," MPRA Paper 63937, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2015.
    3. Juan Federico & Joan-Lluis Capelleras, 2015. "The heterogeneous dynamics between growth and profits: the case of young firms," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 44(2), pages 231-253, February.
    4. Sven-Olov Daunfeldt & Daniel Halvarsson, 2015. "Are high-growth firms one-hit wonders? Evidence from Sweden," Small Business Economics, Springer, pages 361-383.
    5. Xiao , Jing, 2014. "Ownership Change, Multinationals, and Growth of New Technology-Based Firms," Papers in Innovation Studies 2014/24, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy.
    6. Riaz, Suhaib & Glenn Rowe, W. & Beamish, Paul W., 2014. "Expatriate-deployment levels and subsidiary growth: A temporal analysis," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 1-11.
    7. repec:mth:csbm88:v:3:y:2016:i:2:p:122-145 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Crawford, G. Christopher & Aguinis, Herman & Lichtenstein, Benyamin & Davidsson, Per & McKelvey, Bill, 2015. "Power law distributions in entrepreneurship: Implications for theory and research," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 696-713.
    9. Daunfeldt, Sven-Olov & Lang, Åsa & Macuchova, Zuzana & Rudholm, Niklas, 2011. "Firm Growth in the Retail and Wholesale Trade Sectors – Evidence from Sweden," HUI Working Papers 50, HUI Research.
    10. Jing Xiao, 2015. "The effects of acquisition on the growth of new technology-based firms: Do different types of acquirers matter?," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 45(3), pages 487-504, October.

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