What happens to gazelles? The importance of dynamic management strategy

Simon C. Parker, David J. Storey, Arjen van Witteloostuijn*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The starting point of this study is Gibrat's Law, which is contrasted with strategic management. This logic is subsequently applied to a group of remarkably dynamic, high-growth firms: gazelles. Strategic management theory emphasises the importance of firms adjusting strategies in response to changes in the external environment. In our study, it is used to explain several key empirical findings using a novel British data set containing information on more than 100 gazelles. These findings help explain: (1) why Gibrat's Law of random firm growth processes does not generally hold, (2) which strategy and environmental variables have a predictable influence on firm performance and (3) why routine application of 'best practice' strategies is unlikely to foster firm growth in a changing economic environment. In so doing, this paper contributes to the large body of literature on small-firm growth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-226
Number of pages24
JournalSmall Business Economics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Firm growth
  • Gazelles
  • Gibrat's Law
  • Strategic management theory
  • Strategy variables


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