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Firm Growth from a Knowledge Structure Perspective

Author

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  • Keld Laursen
  • Volker Mahnke
  • Per Vejrup-Hansen

Abstract

Although there are several theories of growth of the firm, the literature is limited in two interrelated respects. First, empirical evidence does not match well theoretical predictions. Second, the firm growth literature does not address the structure of knowledge both in firms and sectors as well as knowledge flows between them. Based on existing theoretical and empirical literature, the paper outlines an ‘appreciative’ theory of firm growth and presents new testable hypotheses to inform present and future empirical research. The paper seeks to address this gap by analysing not only levels of human capital, but also its composition both on a firm and sector level. A key departure from earlier approaches is the inclusion of the role of ‘knowledge structures’ played in the growth of the firm. In this context make a distinction between (a) levels of human capital available to firms, (b) the composition of various kinds of human capital (‘firm- specific’, ‘industry-specific’, and ‘general knowledge’) contained, and (c) the diversity of knowledge domains represented to characterise the knowledge structure of firms. In addition, we present our first empirical results, using the knowledge structure approach. In the first part of our empirical analysis we find – while controlling for intial size and industry affiliation – that the availability of a high fraction of employees with higher education within each establishment (an aspect of ‘general kowledge’), is in general conducive to establishment growth. In the second part of the empirical analysis, we find important sectoral differences with respect to the ability of the level of formal education to explain firms growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Keld Laursen & Volker Mahnke & Per Vejrup-Hansen, 1999. "Firm Growth from a Knowledge Structure Perspective," DRUID Working Papers 99-11, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:aal:abbswp:99-11
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    File URL: http://www3.druid.dk/wp/19990011.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Nicolai J. Foss, 1996. "Firms, Incomplete Contracts and Organizational Learning," DRUID Working Papers 96-2, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
    2. Peter Maskell, 1996. "Localised Low-tech Learning in the Furniture Industry," DRUID Working Papers 96-11, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
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    Cited by:

    1. A. Arrighetti & A. Ninni, 2009. "Firm size and growth opportunities: a survey," Economics Department Working Papers 2009-EP05, Department of Economics, Parma University (Italy).
    2. A. Arrighetti & S. Curatolo & A. Lasagni, 2008. "Determinanti della domanda di laureati nell'industria manifatturiera italiana," Economics Department Working Papers 2008-EP02, Department of Economics, Parma University (Italy).
    3. Anjali Kumar & Manuela Francisco, 2005. "Enterprise Size, Financing Patterns, and Credit Constraints in Brazil : Analysis of Data from the Investment Climate Assessment Survey," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 7330.
    4. Lee, Keun & Kim, Byung-Yeon, 2009. "Both Institutions and Policies Matter but Differently for Different Income Groups of Countries: Determinants of Long-Run Economic Growth Revisited," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 533-549, March.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    firm growth; human capital; knowledge structure;

    JEL classification:

    • L21 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Business Objectives of the Firm
    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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