Research Summary

Understanding the Drivers and Limits of Corporate Growth

by Gary P. Pisano


Perhaps no issues garners more attention of senior executives and Boards of Directors than growth.  Yet, the underlying factors shaping and limiting corporate growth are poorly understood.  Empirically, we know that some corporations grow much faster than others over long periods of time. Some appear to have done a better jobg managing growth than others.  But there is little consensus, and even less evidence, concerning the strategies companies can adopt to maintain desired growth rates.  This research examines the underlying economics of corporate growth, and seeks to shed light on some issues as:

1. Are their limits to the growth of organizations, and, if so, what governs those limits?

2. Why do some firms grow faster (and longer) than others?   

3. Are some growth strategies more effective than others?  Are some organizational and governance structures more conducive to sustained growth than others? 


This research is currently undertaken through a series of case studies on specific companies. The case study research will be supplemented with larger scale empirical analysis from growth patterns of US and European companies.