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Title: The development of micro-enterprises.
Author: Perren, Llewellyn James.
ISNI:       0000 0001 1565 9682
Awarding Body: University of Brighton
Current Institution: University of Brighton
Date of Award: 1996
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This thesis examines micro-enterprises (firms with under ten employees) pursuing some degree of gradual growth. While very little research specifically targets the growth of micro-enterprises, there was a host of possible influencing factors suggested by the rather broader small business literature. Less literature was found on how the complex interaction of these factors might stimulate a firm's development. A framework was derived which suggested how the factors identified might interact with four key growth drivers, namely; management expertise for growth, owner's growth motivation, resource access and demand. The framework contributed a clear agenda for analyzing a firm's growth, while allowing the specific issues of any particular firm to be investigated within its environmental context. Sixteen case studies were investigated to allow sufficient comparison across a number of firms for some generalisations to be made with a degree of conviction, while retaining adequate quality in the detailed analysis of each firm to allow the intricate configuration of factors to be understood. Two dimensions of comparison were followed. Firstly, comparison between firms that achieved different levels of growth (no attempted growth, attempted but not achieved growth and achieved growth) and secondly comparison between different sectors (retailing, service, wholesale and manufacturing). Patterns were discovered in the interaction of these factors which allowed the original framework to be empirically authenticated and improved. The quality of the data encouraged deep consideration of the process by which factors influence the growth of the firm. The analysis suggests that for a firm to grow through the micro-enterprise phase, the combined influence of factors on all four sets of growth drivers proposed in the framework needs to be positive. The possibility of a number of different factors influencing any particular set of growth drivers suggests that no factor, however strongly motivating, will itself be essential to the growth of the firm. The framework provides a useful structure to help micro-enterprise ownermanagers and their advisors formulate growth strategies by highlighting areas which require attention. It may also afford some degree of qualitative prediction of the likelihood of a firm achieving successful growth. These results reinforce the need for researchers to accept the complexity of growth factors and not to search for simplistic solutions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Small businesses Management