Abstract

Edith Penrose argued that firms face a constraint on organic growth because of growth activities in previous periods. Central to her ideas about growth is the distinction between managerial and entrepreneurial capabilities. Growth in previous periods creates adjustment costs which are associated with managerial capabilities and impacts on the growth opportunities which are associated with entrepreneurial capabilities. In this paper we revisit Penrose’s work to examine how the nature of growth in previous periods may effect growth in the current period. Employing a panel of all commercially active enterprises in the private (non-government) sector in Sweden over a 10 year period our results indicate that previous organic growth acts as a constraint on organic growth, however, acquisitive growth may act as a catalyst for organic growth. Based on these findings, we suggest extensions Penrose’s to growth theory.

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