Purpose – This paper aims to present the results of an exploratory study of the organizational life cycle. Rather than approaching the construct from a small‐ or large‐ firm perspective, a model appropriate for all organizations is employed. Design/methodology/approach – A survey was administered to 107 practicing managers to determine life cycle stage of their organizations and environmental scanning pursuits. Findings – The study revealed that small firms are not only found in the first two life cycle stages – existence and survival – but also in the decline stage. In addition, support was not found for environmental scanning patterns previously postulated in the literature. Practical implications – Managers of SMEs who wish to grow their organizations must understand the Gestalt changes necessary for successful progression to a large organization. Originality/value – One life cycle model is appropriate for all organizations and can be utilized as a transition guide for strategic managers who recognize that their decisions are the real determinants of life cycle stage.
Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 8, 2008
Keywords: Business cycles; Small enterprises; Environmental management