Lumps, Bumps and Jumps in the Firm Growth Process

Alex Coad*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Firm growth is a central topic in entrepreneurship research. The approach taken here is to survey the literature on lumps and discontinuities in the growth process, which may well correspond to the most interesting cases of firm growth. Our interdisciplinary review investigates stages of growth models, growth modes, growth strategies, and barriers and thresholds that hinder the growth of firms. Firm growth is theorized to be characterized by the addition and reconfiguration of lumpy discrete resources. The distribution of annual growth rates follows a heavy-tailed distribution, which has led to interest in growth paths, growth spells, growth spikes, and the phenomenon of High-Growth Firms (HGFs). We conclude with implications for empirical and theoretical research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)212-267
Number of pages56
JournalFoundations and Trends in Entrepreneurship
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Apr 11
Externally publishedYes


  • Firm growth
  • Growth paths
  • Growth rate distribution
  • Growth strategies
  • High-growth firms (HGFs)
  • Penrose

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Economics and Econometrics


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