High growth trajectories in small and medium sized enterprises: a comparative study


  • Chanut-Guieu Cécile
  • Guieu Gilles


  • Entrepreneurs
  • Growth
  • France
  • SME
  • Strategic management
  • Multinational

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Purpose– Rapid growth constitutes both a theoretical and an economic issue. Thanks toa comparative study of five high growth small and medium sized enterprises located in Rhone-Alpes and Provence (France), the authors propose a processual analysis of high growth trajectories. The purposeof this paper is to identify trajectories and tools implicated in the construction and maintenance ofa high growth trajectory.Design/methodology/approach– The contribution is a comparative, qualitative study of fivemedium size companies in France that have experienced growth of more than 20 percent annually forat least four years. This study is based on 25 semi-directive interviews with company managers.Findings– First, high growth is a result of the psychological state of the company leader. Second,high growth is a manifestation of a secure enterprise geographically based where the companyoriginated. This, however, implies discomfort once high growth occurs when physical expansionobliges moving to unfamiliar locations. Finally, in companies with high growth trajectories, supportfunctions develop relatively late.Originality/value– The results corroborate certain previously presented findings and bring forthnew conclusions particularly concerning the place of the leader, the existence of thresholds and therelative homogeneity of trajectories.

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