Firm size and environmental scanning pursuits across organizational life cycle stages

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Purpose - This paper aims to present the results of an exploratory study of the organizational life cycle. Rather than approaching the construct from a small- or large- firm perspective, a model appropriate for all organizations is employed. Design/methodology/approach - A survey was administered to 107 practicing managers to determine life cycle stage of their organizations and environmental scanning pursuits. Findings - The study revealed that small firms are not only found in the first two life cycle stages - existence and survival - but also in the decline stage. In addition, support was not found for environmental scanning patterns previously postulated in the literature. Practical implications - Managers of SMEs who wish to grow their organizations must understand the Gestalt changes necessary for successful progression to a large organization. Originality/value - One life cycle model is appropriate for all organizations and can be utilized as a transition guide for strategic managers who recognize that their decisions are the real determinants of life cycle stage.

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Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development

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