African Journal of
Business Management

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Bus. Manage.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1993-8233
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJBM
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 4138

Full Length Research Paper

Managing firm growth: Lessons of success

Marius Ungerer*
  • Marius Ungerer*
  • University of Stellenbosch Business School, Bellville, South Africa.
  • Google Scholar
Charlene Gerber
  • Charlene Gerber
  • University of Stellenbosch Business School, Bellville, South Africa.
  • Google Scholar
Suzette Volschenk
  • Suzette Volschenk
  • University of Stellenbosch Business School, Bellville, South Africa.
  • Google Scholar


  •  Received: 10 November 2014
  •  Accepted: 27 April 2015
  •  Published: 28 April 2015

Abstract

Firms that are both sustainable and able to grow rapidly are an important stimulus to any economy and essential for increasing employment opportunities. Theory and case studies describing high growth firms in the developed economies are vast. However, much less is known about high firm growth firms within developing economies. By identifying profitable high growth firms within a developing economy context and beginning to understand why and/or how these firms survive and even prosper will hopefully provide insights for other firms that would want to emulate their success. In the present study, the researchers aimed to gain insight into possible key considerations that should be taken into account by academics and practitioners alike in effectively managing firm growth, by specifically focusing on companies that have proven themselves successful in terms of growth management. For purposes of this present study qualitative research by means of observation was conducted. Annual reports of purposefully selected listed companies were analysed by observing the official views and reflections of the executive managers of the selected companies, within a specified time frame. Findings revealed that the most common attributes of the directors are extensive industry experience, followed by being highly qualified (having a masters or doctoral degree) and lastly, entrepreneurial experience. Firms in the information, communication and technology (ICT) sector significantly outperformed the other sectors in terms of profitability. Most successful high growth firms followed a combined growth strategy, which included organic growth, acquisitions and expansion into Africa.

Key words: AltX, attributes, characteristics, entrepreneur, experiences, firm growth, SME.