While business growth is a driver of macroeconomic growth and is thus deemed desirable from a societal point of view, for the entrepreneur, the decision to grow is not necessarily a straightforward one.

This research theme addresses two main issues: (i) the relationship between entrepreneurial cognition and growth intentions; and (ii) the relationship between entrepreneurial cognition, growth intentions, and capability creation and development.

Research Activities

This is the only ERC research theme to involve significant new data collection and (as of March 2014) survey work and longitudinal case studies are in progress. Initial results from the company survey are anticipated in April/May 2014.

Key Research Findings

SME growth depends crucially on leadership capabilities: opportunity recognition, entrepreneurial cognition and dynamic growth capabilities.

The nature and diversity of firms’ leadership team can have a positive bearing on growth, both directly and indirectly through opportunity recognition.

Dynamic capabilities – the ability to adapt strategy and resource allocation appropriately – have a significant effect on firm performance. Capabilities have both an individual and team element.

Cultural values can strongly influence entrepreneurial activity. However, evidence on the factors which mediate the link between culture and individual entrepreneurial activity remain poorly understood. Recent research on entrepreneurial cognition offers a possible way forwards.

How do businesses build alliance formation capabilities? Research on US firms suggest a combination of replication, adaptability and flexibility rather than any very robust distinction between engineered and emergent processes.


Is There An Entrepreneurial Culture? (Research Paper No 16)

Understanding the impact of national culture alone and in interaction with other contextual factors, is important for refining our knowledge of how entrepreneurs think and act. This paper presents a review of the literature on the link between cultural values and entrepreneurial beliefs, motives and behaviours. It suggests that there may not be a single entrepreneurial culture and suggests areas for future research.

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Developing Alliance Formation Process Capabilities (Research Paper No 13)

This paper draws from learning theory and path dependence research to hypothesize how companies build the capability for managing strategic alliance formation processes.

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Who Takes Advice? (Research Paper No 9)

This paper explores whether a small firm manager takes advice from formal sources, including public and private

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HRM, Organisational Culture and Entrepreneurial Capabilities (Research Paper No 5)

This paper explores the role of individual and collective knowledge processes in the capacities for acquiring, integrating and exploiting new knowledge and the influences they exert on long term organisational performance and growth.

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Understanding Fear of Failure in Enterpreneurship (Research Paper No 3)

There is a broadly held assumption within the entrepreneurship literature that fear of failure is always and only an inhibitor of entrepreneurial behaviour. This paper provides a theoretic framework of the antecedents, moderators and consequences of fear of failure.

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Entrepreneurial Leadership, Capabilities and Growth (White Paper No 2)

SME growth depends upon substantive growth capabilities, which are shaped by the upstream issues of leadership and capability development. This paper presents a review of the existing evidence.

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