Entrepreneurship and Navigating the Growth Dissertation

  • Length: 50 pages
  • Sources: 30
  • Subject: Business - Management
  • Type: Dissertation
  • Paper: #90127979

Excerpt from Dissertation :

Burns (2007) indicates that the text is about that which motivates the actions and decisions of the entrepreneur, including the influence of personal social networks, family and personal background. Moreover, the text reports itself to be about the tasks of management which are associated with the entrepreneurial approach as well as how decisions are make, how risk is balanced and most essentially how there is a clear distinction between the entrepreneur and the manager of a larger firm. Burns reports that for the former, as opposed to the latter, there is a greater need to change one's role and one's approach to responsibilities as the company grows in scale. Burns indicates that his test is centered on how there are distinct traits which define the entrepreneur to the benefit of a company's early stages and, sometimes, to the detriment of a company as it grows. (p. xviii)

And as we find with further research, the text and our general topic are both concerned with how these individual characteristics intercede with one's understanding of that which is required of them during the growth phase. In addition to extensive consideration of the claims made in the text by Burns, the research process will touch on a wide array of sources focused on related organizational issues, theoretical lenses for viewing these issues, and various research-based examples of these theories in actual implementation and/or evaluation. In order to touch on this variance of subjects, the research presented hereafter will center on a literature review derived from full-length texts, scholarly journal articles, case studies, trade magazines and current newspapers or online news sources. The methods employed to conduct this literature review are delineated in the concluding section of our research, which reflects on the process producing the current account.

Subjects touched up by this literature review will run a necessary gamut of topics inherently relevant to today's business atmosphere and to the universal implications of entrepreneurialship. Among these subjects, discussion of Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) orientation will be essential. The role played by SMEs in comprising a free and competitive marketplace is essential. Indeed, as our research denotes, with the support of Burns' (2007) text, small and medium-sized enterprises are the lifeblood of growth, innovation and the realization of those individual aspirations which may ultimately come to command an empire. Burns (2007) tells that his text is primarily concerned with the firm as what he calls the dominant incarnation of business on a global scale. Burns indicates that his text is concerned with the way that the small firm starts up, grows to success or, by contrast, grows toward failure. To this point, he warns that a great many small firms pursuing growth experience economic stagnation. This, Burns indicates, is a problem which calls for greater investigation in light of the contribution of small firms to society. Namely, Burns views the small firm as a hotbed for innovation and the fostering of competitive markets. Therefore, he seeks to define the small firm as something more complex than just a scaled down variation on the larger corporation. In order to approach such a definition, Burns offers a discussion of the unique business quandaries faced by the small business, with special attention to family firms as well. (Bunrs, p. xviii)

Here, Burns helps to direct the gaze of this research toward the entrepreneur as a necessary and evolving figure. The research thereafter helps to contextualize this figure in a landscape of globalization, international outsourcing and persistent worldwide recession. It also helps to attribute to this figure the responsibilities of delegation, of balance and, most importantly, of flexibility as changes become necessary or desirable. The body of research also assesses the structural and strategic implications of change, employing some dominant theoretical frameworks for this purpose. Additionally, the body of research addresses concepts and theories of leadership, managerial principles and scholarly assessment of principles relating to personnel.

It is anticipated at the outset of the research process that consideration of this variance of sources will help to produce a nuanced and well-organized discussion on that which is demanded of the entrepreneur as a company grows from the pet project of one or a few individuals into a complex network of interdependent parts and scores of individuals reliant upon the firm for their own survival. It is thus hypothesized that the primary finding to be yielded here will be that during the process of organizational change and growth, the entrepreneur must also change and grow. The research hereafter will work to identify the ways that the entrepreneur must change and grow to steward an organization successfully through these stages.


The primary aim of this research is to produce a comprehensive resource for consideration by the entrepreneur moving toward a transition from development to growth. This denotes the need for consideration of resources that can better illuminate the subject of growth as a function of the small business enterprise life cycle as well as those which can better illuminate growth from the perspective of the entrepreneur. It is intended that the source here created will provide a valuable collection of interlocking and sometimes oppositional perspectives on how to adapt as a leader as growth-based change proceeds.


A major priority of the research will be to define organizational growth. Too often, organizational growth is conflated with business development. Therefore, an initial phase of the research will be to create a meaningful and usable definition for business growth that can help the entrepreneur determine whether or not her organization has reached such a stage. Here, growth is seen as an inevitable and necessary phase which is naturally befitting the entrepreneurial spirit, but which also demands adaptation on the part of the entrepreneur. Burns (2007) reports to this end that sometimes businesses which are not designed with intention of growth so much as simply survival may actually find that either success or necessity tend to bring about the unintentional endeavor toward growth. This is where many firms encounter a problem, Burns points out, because the entrepreneurial manager may not necessarily have the natural characteristics of a growth-oriented leaders. This is why growing too fast or at the wrong time can be risky for a small firm, with an absence of proper preparation or managerial strategy frequently leading to unexpected strategic obstacles, possible organizational crises and eventual implementation failure. In these contexts, growth may not only be unsuccessful, but the attempt might be downright destructive to the longterm viability of the small firm. (p. 11)

Here, Burns alludes to many of the problems that will be considered throughout our discussion. To this point, it is a major objective of the research to help catalogue the risks, pitfalls and errors in orientation or judgment that often doom growing companies to over-extension, faulty implementation or even the incorrect decision to attempt to create this growth in the first place. Here, below, we elaborate with greater detail on the intent to identify and, in subsequent sections, to deconstruct the problems or issues that may arise during the process of growth-based change.

Problems/Issues in Growth Stages

One of the most pressing issues imposed upon an organization undergoing some degree of growth-based change is that concerning the relationship between leadership and membership. Often, the strains of change can be difficult to assimilate for both aspects of the organization. However, it is the core responsibility of leadership to ease this transition by opening the airwaves for communication, presenting with clarity information about the form which this change will take and proceeding with a clear plan of action. The further examination of this subject with consideration to the role and responsibility of the entrepreneurial leader and how this will impact personnel will approach a number of literature sources that are intended to provide a framework for this demanding but ultimately manageable process of both growing an organization and reorienting the personnel that allow it to function. This is an issue particular to the growth stage, and is so noted because it requires the entrepreneur involved with the smaller firm to make significant changes in the way that decisions are made and tasks are executed

The need to create a more democratic and more evenly delegated firm is often a major stumbling block for entrepreneurs proceeding toward growth. Often, such personnel must significantly alter the way that they conduct themselves. This is true to the extent that Burns (2007) identifies certain small-business properties that are less befitting the growing organization. Burns (2007) points out that there is a loose but direct connection between small firms and the concept of entrepreneurship. The Burns (2007) text identifies these organizational features as inherently overlapping. Burns further references Storey & Sykes (1996), indicating that their research provides us with the characterization of the small firm as having less formal processes due to the smaller number of organizational members involved in the decision-making process. As a result, the small company can channel greater flexibility and responsiveness to conditions in the…

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