The Theory of the Growth of the Firm over 60 Years: From Where We Came and Where We Are Going

Arnaldo Di Petta, Luciana Orozco de Gouveia, Andrea Luísa Bozzo, Marcelo Neves Gonçalves


Objective: Our main objective is to present a retrospective of Penrose’s work, over the last 60 years, summarizing trends and the existence of opportunities for future research on the subject.

Method: From revisions that have been published in recent years in high impact international journals, we developed a new review presenting a Theory of Growth of the Firm.

Originality and Relevance: This work is original due to the inexistence, in Brazil, of a similar study. It is relevant because the book “The Theory of Firm Growth” is a work that has been influencing theoretical and managerial development since its launch. Nearing 60 years, the subjects covered in the book and the way they are treated still arouse the interest of scholars, serving as a reference for the theoretical development of business schools.

Results: We concluded that there is a need for new research on the different modes of growth of companies and also on other ways of measuring this growth. The tendency is not to use a strict interpretation of resource characteristics from the perspective of the Resources Based View (RBV), and it is necessary to better understand how companies can grow in a global market, embedded in an increasingly competitive environment.

Contributions: With this work we contribute to the academic debate, synthesizing from where we came from the original work by Penrose and consolidating the lines of research in which this theory can still have influence. This implies knowledge of new corporate realities and the use of different growth models. Likewise, a more versatile use of resources should be considered in a reality of interaction between small and large companies, leveraging the growth of the business ecosystem.


Penrose. Theory of the Growth of the Firm. RBV.


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