Mediathek

For a long time the postulate that quantitative growth is the entrepreneurial raison d’être and an indispensable obligation for a company has remained unquestioned. Empirical studies on firm size and growth show, however, that a large fraction of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are non-growers or slow growers. These SMEs often show a more qualities-driven perspective on the growth question and a higher awareness of diseconomies of scale. Given the rather slow reception of this issue by the management literature, the knowledge about how to successfully manage a qualities-driven but non-growing company is currently limited. This deficit is problematic in its own right but also because such growth-critical companies might become relevant in the context of the degrowth movement. Yet so far, the corresponding societal and academic discourses have largely blocked out market-based actors. Against this background, the paper presents a structured aggregation and meta-interpretation of the few currently available empirical studies on entrepreneurial approaches towards growth independence. Its aims are to provide a starting point for the development of corresponding business practices and to show how growth-critical SMEs can potentially contribute to a transformation towards a post-growth society.