What do they think and feel about growth? Examining small business managers’ attitudes towards growth in the United States

Alexander McKelvie, Anna Brattström, William J. Dennis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We replicate the Wiklund et al. (2003) study examining the attitudes towards growth of small business managers. We generalize and extend that study in three important ways: we focus on a different context (United States instead of Sweden), where the conditions and consequences for growth are different, we provide an additional predictor variable – behavioral control – in line with Ajzen's theory of planned behavior, and with a slightly modified dependent variable. The principal finding is that the strongest perceived consequence affecting attitudes towards growth among U.S.-based small business managers is the ability to increase income and other financial benefits. Change in employee well-being and change in dependence on outside stakeholders also ranked relatively high among eight potential growth consequences. The Wiklund et al. (2003) Swedish study finds, in contrast, that non-economic consequences are the strongest predictor of attitudes towards growth. We attribute these attitudinal differences to variations in institutional context, suggesting that policy and cultural norms are likely to underlie growth motivation. We also find that U.S.-based small business managers are likely to be influenced by the perception that growth is a “realistic” endeavor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere00243
JournalJournal of Business Venturing Insights
Volume15
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2021

Keywords

  • Attitudes
  • Context
  • Growth
  • Growth motivation
  • Planned behavior
  • Replication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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