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Mark Freel
Mark Freel

Mark Freel returns to the Lazaridis Institute

The Lazaridis Institute is pleased to welcome Mark Freel for a return visit. Mark is the Vice-Dean Career Development and RBC Financial Group Professor in the Commercialization of Innovation at the Telfer School of Management in Ottawa. His current research focuses on innovation policy and practice in relation to small and medium sized firms. He is also interested in the role universities play in innovation systems.

"Last year was fun and productive," says Mark about his eagerness to return to the Institute. "I had the chance to meet some really bright and interesting folks. The Institute is building a strong group and quite a few of them are engaged in research that overlaps with my own interests. I also got some nice feedback and good steers on the project that I presented. This has moved on, in larger part in the direction suggested, and I will be presenting on the next stage this time."

Titled “The consequences of growth: case study and econometric evidence”, Mark's presentation will happen on October 4. Explaining what attendees can expect, Mark says: "I have constructed six case studies of ‘post-growth’ firms where the data is a mixture of recent interviews and archival primary data. Initial analysis of this data has suggested two models/propositions that are amenable to econometric testing." In addition to presenting the case study research and the derived propositions, Mark will be able to "give some sense of the first findings from the econometric work exploring one of these, and a status update on the work exploring the other." He hopes to get further feedback from those in attendance so that that he may refine the models.

Mark’s stay at the Institute begins on September 29 and runs until October 12. While here, Mark can be found at office LH 2014.       

Seminar Details 

Date and time: Friday, October 4 from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Location: Dean’s Boardroom, LH 4114

Title: The consequences of growth: case study and econometric evidence

Abstract: Encouraging entrepreneurship has been an important focus of industrial policy since, at least, the 1980s. However, whilst much of the longstanding interest has been on the ‘production’ of new entrepreneurial firms, recent emphasis has shifted towards high growth entrepreneurship (Autio and Rannikko 2016). The impetus for this shift owes much to the increasing recognition that most new ventures remain marginal enterprises; undertaking little innovation, creating few jobs and making only a minor contribution to wealth creation (cf. Shane 2009; Mason and Brown 2013). In other words, the greater part of the economic benefit that derive from entrepreneurship is provided by a small proportion of firms (Henrekson and Johansson 2010).

The shift presents policymakers with a significant challenge: It “…suggests that the issue is growth, which is hard (not easy), rather than market entry, which is easy (not hard)” (Nightingale and Coad 2013, p. 20). Developing effective policy requires a robust evidence base. However, the larger part of existing evidence has been concerned with identifying high-growth firms in one period and comparing them (in terms of management, entrepreneurship and environment) to the rest of the population of firms (Delmar, Davidsson, and Gartner 2003). Yet, the relevance of studying high-growth firms at a particular point in time depends upon the likelihood of growth persistence (Daunfeldt and Halvarsson 2015). If growth is shown to be random or, worse, if growing firms in one period report below average performance in subsequent periods, then the implications of these studies will have little importance for policy (Hölzl 2014).

Following this, and in light of recent evidence that most growth firms are likely to be “one hit wonders”, this presentation reports on exploratory case study research that investigates what happens to growth firms after they grow. What is it that retards further growth? This research suggests two potential explanations: changing motivations and changing executive skill requirements. These ideas are being tested through analyses of large scale datasets in Canada and the UK. These data are described and initial results are discussed.


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