Beyond linearity and resource-based perspectives of SME growth
Recent debates have seen increased interest in the growth of SMEs. Most research however follows a limited remit, focusing on specific subsets and employing narrow, resource-based perspectives. A consequence is our knowledge is limited on how SME growth occurs more broadly and the critical determinants in this process. This paper addresses this gap, examining SME growth as a multidimensional process rather than an output.
The paper operationalises a Four Dimensions Conceptual Model through a Systematic Literature Review of 36 studies on the growth process. It identifies a broader set of determinants supporting a multidimensional approach, the pluralistic nature of SME growth embedded in distinctive contexts. Evidence suggests a greater reliance on firm-based Characteristics and Environmental factors in supporting growth, providing critical inputs into forming and reinforcing networks through which firm-based resources are activated. We emphasise the need to test these propositions through more SME research using qualitative and longitudinal methods.