Purpose – This paper aims to expand on existing conceptualisations of barriers to small business growth by addressing the question of how, or in what ways, do perceived barriers influence the growth intentions and behaviours of owner‐managers? Design/methodology/approach – Adopting an interpretive methodological approach, in‐depth semi‐structured interviews were held with 27 owner‐managers working in St Petersburg, Russia. Participants were asked about their intentions for their businesses, how they intended to grow and what, if anything, prevented or interfered with these intentions. Template analysis was used to develop owner‐managers' perceptions and experiences of barriers to growth, and to facilitate theory building. Findings – Six ways in which perceived barriers influence the growth intentions and behaviours of small business owner‐managers were identified. Barriers: stop owner‐managers from intending to grow; undermine intentions; add to the ambivalence around growth intentions; provide incentives to grow; postpone intention realization; and slow down the process of realizing intentions to grow. Research limitations/implications – Because data were collected at one point in time, it was not possible to capture the dynamic nature of barriers or the intentions/behaviours they influenced. Future research could be strengthened through the use of longitudinal designs and process‐based methods (e.g. diary studies). Practical implications – Educators and policy makers should help owner‐managers understand the ways in which barriers can affect business growth and be overcome. Originality/value – This study is the first to examine how barriers influence growth intentions and behaviours, and to facilitate theory development on the topic.
International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 16, 2011
Keywords: Business development; Growth intentions; Growth behaviours; Perceived barriers; Transition management; Economic change; Qualitative research; Template analysis