L'évolution des stratégies de croissance des jeunes entreprises

by Witmeur, Olivier

Abstract (Summary)
ABSTRACT The evolution of the growth strategies of young firms Research on the growth of young firms has developed significantly over the last thirty years. The situation is particularly noteworthy in Europe, where there is only a limited number of young firms experiencing strong growth, even though it is widely recognised that this type of firm contributes to the creation of a substantial amount of jobs. The scientific community recognises that the currently available research is lacking in terms of integration, theoretical anchoring and longitudinal approaches. Consequently, it is not able to explain how and why young firms adopt different growth strategies and follow heterogeneous trajectories. The aim of this thesis is to create an analytical framework, which is as integrated and dynamic as possible, so as to make it possible to understand the why and the wherefore behind the growth of young firms. In order to respond to this challenge, the thesis follows in the footsteps of the seminal works of Gartner and Marchesnay respectively, on the conceptual framework for describing new venture creation and the management system of small and medium enterprises. It adopts the epistemological paradigm of ‘critical realism’ and makes use, essentially, of the case study method. The general approach is therefore intended to be longitudinal, qualitative and exploratory. The research is developed in three stages, which correspond to the same number of chapters set out in the form of scientific papers. Chapter 1 goes back to the sources of the seven major research approaches that have been adopted in order to explain the growth of young firms. It demonstrates that, when considered in isolation, none of them can fully explain the growth of young firms, but it also highlights the extent to which they respond to, and complete, one another. Chapter 2 proposes a systemic model that capitalises on the configurational approach as developed by Miller and Mintzberg, as well as the process approach as developed by Van de Ven. Indeed, these two approaches make it possible to integrate a large number of elements that have already been established through existing research. The model suggests that young firms adopt configurations associated with different strategies that tie the key elements of the entrepreneurial phenomenon (namely the entrepreneur, the activities, the resources, the organisational structure and the environment), while these elements change under the influence of numerous processes. The third chapter, which has been written in English, places particular focus on young IT services firms. It takes a more in-depth look at the model proposed in chapter 2 in a context in which firms are, amongst other things, faced with the choice of developing as service firms and/or have the opportunity to turn their efforts and attention towards software development. From a methodological point of view, the chosen approach consists in the development of a typology of strategic configurations deduced from academic and practical literature and then to compare the ideal types with the configurations that have been actually adopted by the firms. The model and typology are tested and conceptually confirmed by several case studies of Belgian companies. The overall findings serve to confirm the fact that the development of young firms is achieved through the adoption of successive configurations that are associated with different growth strategies, without these and their sequences being predetermined because of the influence of multiple simultaneous processes. Although it is essentially conceptual in nature, the thesis confirms the relevance of the joint adoption of the configurational- and process-approaches in order to understand the complexity of the growth phenomenon. It also opens up the door to quantitative validation research work. In terms of its practical application, the thesis enables us to start the development of a toolbox that may help entrepreneurs in the decision-making process so as to raise their awareness regarding the conditions and implications of different growth strategies.
This document abstract is also available in French.
Document Full Text
The full text for this document is available in French.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Jean-Claude Ettinger; Michel Verstraeten; Paul Verdin; Bruno Van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie; Karim Messeghem; Alain Fayolle; Alain Eraly

School:Université libre de Bruxelles

School Location:Belgium

Source Type:Master's Thesis



Date of Publication:12/17/2008

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