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STAGE MODELS OF SME GROWTH RECONSIDERED

by

Professor Richard G.P. McMahon,

Head, School of Commerce,

The Flinders University of South Australia,

GPO Box 2100,

Adelaide  South Australia 5001.

Telephone: 08-82012840

Facsimile: 08-82012644

Email: Richard.McMahon@flinders.edu.au

SCHOOL OF COMMERCE RESEARCH PAPER SERIES: 98-5 ISSN: 1441-3906

Abstract

This paper once again seeks for a theoretically sound and empirically validated explanation of small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) growth to serve as a broad conceptual framework for research and policy-making regarding the business growth phenomenon. After a critical appraisal of recent research in the field, the paper argues that reconsideration should be given to a conceptual framework that represents SME growth as a series of stages of development through which the business may pass in an enterprise life-cycle. In particular, it is believed that some reliance can be placed on the Hanks et al. (1993) stages-of-growth model. As well as overcoming concerns that such models are frequently not empirically based, it can also be claimed to at least partially answer the most prevalent objections to this type of model that have appeared in the relevant literature.

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