The role of organizational size in the heterogeneous nature of corporate entrepreneurship

Robert S. Nason, Alexander McKelvie, G. T. Lumpkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations


Organizational size is an important factor contributing to the heterogeneous nature of corporate entrepreneurship (CE). We focus on explicating size-based differences in CE and integrating them into new theoretical development. Through a search of the contemporary CE literature, we argue that there has been a tendency toward examining CE dimensions within the context of large public firms, even though they represent a relatively small proportion of the firms that engage in CE activities. Drawing on resource-based theorizing, we identify how size confers CE competitive advantages via slack resources and resource structuring processes, but disadvantages via bureaucratic structures and resource bundling. Aware of these weaknesses, we suggest that small firms are more likely to utilize CE for growth to overcome liabilities of smallness, while large firms are more likely to utilize CE for learning to overcome liabilities of inertia. We thereby provide greater specificity to CE research and stimulate new theoretical development with a forward-looking CE research agenda that incorporates the role of organizational size.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-304
Number of pages26
JournalSmall Business Economics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 21 2015



  • Contingency approach
  • Corporate entrepreneurship
  • Organizational size
  • Resource management
  • Resource-based theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)

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