Abstract

There is considerable unresolved debate in the SME literature regarding the relationship between strategy, competitiveness; growth and entrepreneurial activity (see Bamberger 1989, Gibb & Davies 1992, Storey 1994, Thompson 2006). The issue of growth in particular is contentious and whilst there have been many different “stages of growth” models advocated (Griener1972, Gibb & Scott 1985, Davidson 1991) Perren (1999) suggests that these represent different views of the activities and conditions that are required for growth to occur. This work adopts an original perspective on this matter, and seeks to use Soft Systems Thinking (Checkland 1981, Checkland & Scholes 1999) to holistically explore the correlation between identified significant conditions and their impact on the development of latent growth potential in these specific types of firms.

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