Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Business and Management.

Publication Details

Management Research News, Vol.32, no.6, 2009


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore hypothesis that high-growth firms founded by entrepreneurial teams use a unique combination of organic structure and emergent strategy. Design/methodology/approach – A quantitative study of 445 software development firms in the USA and 219 firms in Ireland was undertaken with a valid response rate of 22 per cent and 38 per cent, respectively. Findings – Generally, all classifications of firms in the USA and in Ireland demonstrated a combination of organic structure and emergent strategy at the beginning of their existence. As the US firms grew older they moved towards a combination of organic structure and deliberate strategy, while Irish firms moved towards a combination of mechanical structure and deliberate strategy that was hierarchical and organised. Research limitations/implications – The survey was conducted in only one industry and some firm classifications had small cell sizes. Practical implications – The ambition of this study was to offer owner-managers an evidence-based structure/strategy combination that would support the attainment of high-growth. Originality/value – This was the first occasion that the concept of a combination of structure and strategy was explored as an explanation for high-growth amongst firms founded by entrepreneurial teams.