Abstract

Firm growth is a foundational topic in entrepreneurship research (Nason & Wiklund, 2015). To date, most of this research has concerned explaining why some firms grow more than others. Far less, however, is known about the implications of growth (McKelvie & Wiklund, 2010). While growth poses new opportunities for employees to develop and advance their careers, it can also lead to internal turmoil, stress, and burnout (Flamholz, 2012). Studies have shown that the concern for employee well-being is the most important factor influencing whether entrepreneurs are aiming to expand their businesses or not (Wiklund, Davidsson & Delmar, 2003).

In this paper, we examine the extent to which growth influences the well-being of employees. As firms grow, the employees’ work environment changes. These changes can affect individuals’ well-being differently as they adapt in their own ways. Hedonic treadmill theory suggests that well-being fluctuates over time, but ultimately reaches a hedonic set point, where the individual returns to equilibrium of well-being. (Brickman & Campell, 1971). Building on hedonic and eudaimonic theories of well-being (e.g., Ryan & Deci, 2010) combined with dynamic states of growth models (Levie & Lichtenstein, 2010), we pose hypotheses regarding how growth influences employee well-being.

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