کارآفرین بلند پروازانه: استراتژی های رشد بالا از شرکت های متعلق به زنان
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|22598||2001||18 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||7841 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Business Venturing, Volume 16, Issue 5, September 2001, Pages 453–470
During the last two decades, researchers have sought to develop categories of entrepreneurs and their businesses along a variety of dimensions to better comprehend and analyze the entrepreneurial growth process. Some of this research has focused on differences related to industrial sectors, firm size, the geographical region in which a business is located, the use of high-technology or low-technology, and the life-cycle stage of the firm (i.e., start-up vs. more mature, formalized companies). Researchers have also considered ways in which entrepreneurs can be differentiated from small business managers. One of these classifications is based on the entrepreneur's desire to grow the business rapidly. This is the focus of our study. To date, the media have paid considerable attention to rapidly growing new ventures. However, still lacking are large-scale research studies guided by theory through which we can expand our knowledge of the underlying factors supporting ambitious expansion plans. Some research has identified factors that enhance or reduce the willingness of the entrepreneur to grow the business. Factors include the strategic origin of the business (i.e., the methods and paths through which the firm was founded); previous experience of the founder/owner; and the ability of the entrepreneur to set realistic, measurable goals and to manage conflict effectively. Our study attempted to identify the strategic paths chosen by entrepreneurs and the relation of those paths to the growth orientation of the firm. The entrepreneurs sampled in this study are women entrepreneurs across a wide range of industrial sectors. Recent reviews of entrepreneurship research have suggested the need for more studies comparing high-growth firms with slower-growth firms to better delineate their differences in strategic choices and behaviors. Our study sought to answer the following questions: What characterizes a “high growth-oriented entrepreneur?” Is this distinction associated with specific strategic intentions, prior experience, equity held in previous firms, the type of company structure in place, or success factors the entrepreneur perceives are important to the business? Do “high growth” entrepreneurs show greater entrepreneurial “intensity” (i.e., commitment to the firm's success)? Are they willing to “pay the price” for their own and their firm's success? (i.e., the “opportunity costs” associated with business success and growth). Other relationships under investigation included different patterns of financing the business' start-up and early growth. Do “high-growth” entrepreneurs use unique sources of funding compared with “lower-growth” entrepreneurs? Eight hundred thirty-two entrepreneurs responded to a survey in which they were asked to describe their growth intentions along nineteen strategic dimensions, as well as respond to the foregoing questions. Some of the strategic activity measures included adding a new product or service, expanding operations, selling to a new market, and applying for a loan to expand operations. Actual growth rates based on sales revenues were calculated, and average annualized growth rates of the industrial sectors represented in the sample were obtained. This study showed that high-growth-oriented entrepreneurs were clearly different from low-growth-oriented entrepreneurs along several dimensions. The former were much more likely to select strategies for their firms that permitted greater focus on market expansion and new technologies, to exhibit greater intensity towards business ownership (“my business is the most important activity in my life”), and to be willing to incur greater opportunity costs for the success of their firms (“I would rather own my own business than earn a higher salary while employed by someone else”). The high-growth–oriented entrepreneurs tended to have a more structured approach to organizing their businesses, which suggests a more disciplined perception of managing the firm. In summary, results showed the group of high-growth–oriented entrepreneurs, labeled “ambitious,” as having the following distinctions: strategic intentions that emphasize market growth and technological change, stronger commitment to the success of the business, greater willingness to sacrifice on behalf of the business, earlier planning for the growth of the business, utilization of a team-based form of organization design, concern for reputation and quality, adequate capitalization, strong leadership, and utilization of a wider range of financing sources for the expansion of the venture. The purpose in uncovering these differences is to enable entrepreneurs and researchers to identify more clearly the attributes of rapid-growth ventures and their founders and to move closer to a field-based model of the entrepreneurial growth process which will help delineate the alternative paths to venture growth and organizational change.
Throughout the history of entrepreneurship research, there have been many attempts to categorize entrepreneurs according to a variety of dimensions. These categories have included industry, size, region, age, capital (labor) intensity, high- or low-technology, stage of life cycle, gender, personality type, and numerous others. A particular stream of research has evolved that has attempted to categorize or differentiate small business owners from “pure” entrepreneurs, i.e., the former who were satisfied with the status quo versus the latter who desired to grow their businesses more rapidly. The focus of this research study is on the entrepreneurs whose businesses have exhibited high growth. We examine the strategic growth intentions, commitment level, opportunity costs, structure, and success factors that may distinguish these types of ventures from those with lower growth outcomes. Merz, Weber, and Laetz (1994) noted the chief weakness of many studies on the entrepreneurial growth phenomena was that they rarely compare high or rapid-growth firms with low- or no-growth firms. Even though more is known about high-growth firms, it is unclear whether the observations reported are similar or different for low-growth firms. The present research attempts to fill this gap. The theoretical model we develop follows a pattern of growth literature developed by Davidsson and Wiklund (1999); Wiklund (1998); Davidsson 1989 and Davidsson 1991; Greening, Barringer, and Macy (1996); Kruger and Carsrud (1993); Ward (1993); Kolvereid (1992), and Gibb and Davies (1990). The study reported here extends the decision models to start a business (as chosen by the founder) to the decision to grow the business by the same entrepreneur or her successors. To date, most of the research attention has focused on rapidly growing new ventures. However, there is a paucity of theoretically guided, quantitative, and rigorous literature that discusses the underlying factors supporting such expansion plans. Attributes of High-Growth Entrepreneurs and Organizations For many entrepreneurs, the greatest satisfaction of owning a business lies in working closely with customers and employees. Inevitably, as the business grows, the owner's role changes. Jack Ferner, former dean at Wake Forest University, noted, “Many entrepreneurs would rather limit growth than give up those satisfactions. My experience has been that for every one who has dreams of grandeur and size and billions of dollars, there are probably five that prefer to remain small” (Barrier 1996). Another perspective was described by John Thorne of Carnegie Mellon University: “I think there is an argument in many industries that if you don't grow, you can't hold good people, you're not going to stay in touch with the technology or the marketing trends” (Barrier 1996). As the field of entrepreneurship has developed, firm growth has been almost implicitly construed as a condition or assumption of entrepreneurship. Researchers have examined behaviors, intentions, and goals of entrepreneurs in an attempt to differentiate this group from small business managers. Carland et al (1984) differentiated between “small business owners” and “entrepreneurs,” with the latter category focusing on growth and innovation. Moderate growth firms were identified by Ginn and Sexton (1990), who contrasted them to the sample of Inc's 500 fastest growing firms of the year. Thus, a partial replication for Carland's conceptualization was established. Moore and Buttner (1997) described “traditional” and “modern” entrepreneurs, with the former being small and slow-growing. Birch (1987) studied two groups of small firms that he labeled “income substitutors” and “entrepreneurs.” He found that entrepreneurs intended to grow their organizations significantly, and he concluded that those organizations were responsible for a major proportion of job creation over several periods ranging from 1969 to 1985. Other scholars have identified growth-oriented ventures based on the goals established by the entrepreneurs, such as creating jobs for others (Vesper 1993) and innovative strategic practices (Carland et al. 1984), and have suggested that entrepreneurs have, per se, a growth orientation (Sexton and Bowman 1985). According to Davidsson 1989 and Davidsson 1991, firm growth is an indication of continued entrepreneurship. Incorporating a multidimensional approach and utilizing a sample of 400 Swedish entrepreneurs, Davidsson (1989) attempted to identify the factors that enhanced or reduced the willingness to grow. Among his findings were that most firms favored growth: 62% favored moderate growth in the number of employees, and 87% favored growth in sales. The perception of what growth will bring over time had an impact on actual growth. If the decision to start a business is a choice made by the founder, it may be assumed that the decision to grow the business is a choice made by the same person. In a study of Norwegian entrepreneurs, Kolvereid (1992) adopted a multilevel approach looking at the relationships among the entrepreneur's motives to start the business, education, experience, industry, localization, characteristics of the organization and its environment, the firm's history of growth, and the entrepreneur's growth aspirations. On the basis of a sample of 250 Norwegian entrepreneurs, the research uncovered significant relationships between the entrepreneur's education and the industry as well as a number of organizational variables, including past growth in both revenue and number of employees, in relation to an entrepreneur's aspirations to grow their firm. No significant relationships emerged between growth aspirations of entrepreneurs and their experience, gender, location, or size of business as measured by employee count. Kolvereid (1992) concluded that there were significant relationships between willingness to grow and expectations concerning employee well-being, control, independence, workload, and achievement motivation. This study provided valuable insights; however, as Davidsson (1991) concluded, there are likely to be many situational influences unique to each firm that influence growth willingness and intention. Other studies have attributed differences between high-growth–oriented enterprises and low-growth–oriented enterprises to factors such as strategic origins, previous experience, and the ability of the entrepreneur to establish goals for staff and effectively handle disputes and conflict (Brush and Hisrich 1991). Baum (1995) tested a structural equation model and concluded that entrepreneurial tenacity was related to firm growth. The present study was designed to identify some of these situational influences to gain a clearer picture of the paths that high-growth firms follow. Building on the work of Kolvereid, Baum, and others, this study was designed to extend the empirical examination of entrepreneurial growth orientation by comparing the strategic activities in which entrepreneurs are engaged, along with several attitudinal and structural factors in order to further delineate differences between high-growth and low-growth firms. The present study extends the literature on growth intention by including a large sample of women entrepreneurs across industrial sectors in well-established firms with significant sales. Although the focus on women entrepreneurs has greatly increased in recent years, few studies have included women-owned firms. To locate and study such firms requires substantial effort and cost (Eggers and Leahy 1993). According to a study published by the National Foundation for Women Business Owners (1994), 21% of women-owned firms reported that maintaining the growth and competitiveness of their firms is a significant challenge. In their comprehensive review of current research on women entrepreneurs, Starr and Yudkin (1996) suggest the need for more studies of women-owned-businesses to help define preconditions and strategies for growth. This study attempts to extend the research on women entrepreneurs beyond the examination of the link between gender and entrepreneurial (personal) characteristics (such as propensity to take risks, degree of independence desired, locus of control, etc.). Such research, although it is valuable in describing women entrepreneurs, tells us little about the differences that exist among women entrepreneurs, whose businesses may be differentiated by size, industry, strategic intent, and performance. The present research examines critical elements in the entrepreneurial process, including strategies for growth and organizational design.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The high-growth-oriented entrepreneurs in this study were clearly differentiated from the low-growth–oriented entrepreneurs along several dimensions. Figure 1 depicts a model of the “ambitious,” high-growth–oriented entrepreneur constructed from the findings of this research. The “ambitious” entrepreneurs are similar to those identified by David Birch as gazelles, having an annual growth rate of at least 20%. When the strategic intentions of high-growth entrepreneurs were compared with those of slower-growth entrepreneurs, a striking set of differences emerged along all five sets (factors) of strategic orientations. High-growth–oriented entrepreneurs were significantly more likely to pursue (in order of importance) market expansion (e.g., adding a new product or service and expanding advertising and promotion, etc.); technological change (e.g., acquiring new equipment and computerizing current operations); search for financing (e.g., seeking professional advice and applying for loans); operations planning (e.g., expanding current facilities); and organizational development (e.g., off-site training of employees). Further, our findings suggest that the key strategic success factors perceived by high-growth–oriented entrepreneurs are the reputation (image) of their firms, a strong focus on the quality of the product or service, available cash to grow the business, and effective leadership. While these differences were statistically significant, more research should be done to determine the nature and direction of the strategic success factors over time. They serve as gauges by which the entrepreneurs can “monitor” their success in achieving their growth goals. Hoy, McDougall, and Dsouza (1992) stated that more research is needed to understand how the strategies of high-growth companies differ from the strategies of firms with slower growth. Merz, Weber, and Laetz (1994) added that detailed comparative measurement of strategies pursued by small firms is also needed. Moreover, Davidsson and Wiklund (1999) have underscored the need for more research to further our understanding of this phenomenon. Our findings thus contribute to the work in this area and suggest some of the strategic distinctions among these firms. It was proposed that high-growth entrepreneurs exhibit greater intensity towards business ownership and would be willing to incur greater opportunity costs. Tests confirmed that these two dimensions did in fact discriminate among entrepreneurs on the basis of actual growth rates. Ambitious entrepreneurs were significantly more motivated to do whatever it takes to grow their enterprises and to make the necessary sacrifices to ensure the success of their businesses. This result reveals the nature of entrepreneurial motivation at a more established stage in the venture creation process, extending the work in this area beyond the pre-launch or launch stages (Bhave 1994). The high-growth entrepreneurs were significantly more willing to incur opportunity costs associated with venture growth. They desired to own and grow their businesses despite earning less than they could elsewhere and would readily give up a more promising career for business ownership. Perhaps these entrepreneurs are more pragmatic than their overly optimistic counterparts who may “want it all” and believe that opportunity costs do not influence growth objectives. High-growth entrepreneurs, therefore, would put aside some of their personal or family goals and incur sacrifices and penalties, pursuing a “delayed gratification” model of behavior because they are committed to the growth of their ventures. However, neither group in our study perceived owning their business as more important than spending time with their families. This finding is intriguing and may be attributable to the sample, in this case women entrepreneurs. Previous research has suggested that women business owners often founded their businesses to better balance (or control) their time spent on work and family (Starr and Yudkin 1996 and others). Even though we might expect high-growth–oriented entrepreneurs to desire to harvest their businesses eventually, this study did not show such a goal. Perhaps the psychological investment in and commitment to the business demonstrated by these women entrepreneurs preclude their intention to harvest the business in the foreseeable future. Recent findings from a qualitative study by Cliff (1998) suggest that women entrepreneurs prefer a managed approach to business growth, rather than following more risky growth strategies. However, our study discloses that some women entrepreneurs deliberately select high-growth–oriented strategies. This supports our assertion that differences among women entrepreneurs are of research interest and that future studies should further examine variables across categories (strategic or other) of women-owned businesses. The high-growth–oriented entrepreneurs also tended to have a more structured organization, suggesting a more disciplined approach to management. Although both groups utilized functional structures (as is common in smaller organizations), the “ambitious” entrepreneurs were nearly twice as likely to use team-based structures, which can better position their firms to respond rapidly to changes in the external environment. This finding lends support to Gilmore and Kazanjian's (1989) position that to achieve and maintain high growth, a structured decision-making approach to team building would permit information sharing and delegation. Nearly 35% of low-growth entrepreneurs utilized no design at all, suggesting that these business owners, and possibly their employees as well, may be called on to perform “hat tricks” in carrying out a wide variety of unassigned tasks with little coordination among them. While this highly informal approach to organization design is likely to be found in fledgling firms in the early stages of business evolution, it is ineffective for more established firms engaged in expansion. Entrepreneurial and organizational characteristics of the firms studied suggest that the individuals in the high-growth group had less experience in the industry in which their firm operated, and fewer years of overall business experience. Although the average years of experience (14) was substantial, the “ambitious” entrepreneurs tended to plan for growth earlier in the life of their businesses. They also tended to have held equity in more firms than did the low-growth entrepreneurs. This suggests that “ambitious” entrepreneurs engaged in greater scanning of the environment, such as opportunity recognition behaviors.