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Bass -

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Journal of Small Business Management


Studies examining small firm growth have suggested that growth is complex due to the multitude of internal and external factors that disrupt it. However, in focusing mainly on external factors and paying less attention to internal factors, the process of growing – or what is happening inside a small firm as it grows – remains undertheorized. Using findings from a real-time case study of a small firm and insights from the dialectical perspective, we develop a theoretical model that illustrates growth as a dynamic process occurring through dialectic adjustments in response to disruptions that cannot be resolved with routine practices. Our findings suggest that these disruptions trigger one of two situations – potentially converging or potentially diverging – in which individuals must adjust by connecting their insights (converging) or breaking connections (diverging). As such, our findings illustrate the variability in growing, compelling small firms to complexify their internal workings through dialectical adjustments in response to ongoing nonroutine disruptions.


This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Small Business Management on December 16, 2022, available online:

Available for download on Sunday, June 16, 2024