Dealing with “abnormal” business growth by leveraging local area common goods: an outside-in stakeholder collaboration perspective

Context can be an asset and a liability for the nature and extent of entrepreneurship, but entrepreneurship can also impact contexts.

Welter, F. (2011), “Contextualizing entrepreneurship –conceptual challenges and ways forward”, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, Vol. 35 No. 1, pp. 165-184.

In this article – just published in the International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management – we took this relationship as our vantage point.

With this research, me and my co-author Carmine Bianchi illustrate how for a business located in a local area that does not portray the characteristics of the “Silicon Valley” stereotype, developing a strategy that pretends to autonomously set its boundary spanning may lead to unsustainable growth.

Around the world, the mantra for many entrepreneurs has been to design their business models to fit with the “Silicon Valley” stereotype. There are a number of limitations in this perspective. A first limitation concerns the concept of entrepreneurship. Such concept should not only be associated with the leading role played by the “gurus” of growing companies, like in the “Silicon Valley” model. Also, in small and micro firms, a flexible style of management, and a certain degree of openness to learning have been considered as relevant factors avoiding a stunted organizational culture. 

A second limitation is related to the profile of the context where a business is located. “Silicon Valley” firms are located in contexts where they can either nurture available supportive relationships with local stakeholders or can autonomously operate their own boundary spanning to set their living space. On the contrary, those firms located in weak socioeconomic and institutional context – like inner areas in Sicily – are not able to deliberately set their “living space”. It may, rather, require collaborative strategies to develop “common goods” (e.g. image, social capital, trust, quality of life), that may overcome the lack of shared strategic resources (e.g. human capital, number of firms in the community, networks) in the area. Such assets are crucial for the survival and development of each business located in contexts of this type.

Carmine, B., Vincenzo, V., & Bianchi, C. 2020. Dealing with “abnormal” business growth by leveraging local area common goods: an outside-in stakeholder collaboration perspective. International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, ahead-of-p(ahead-of-print): 1–22.
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