Small Firm Survival and Growth Strategies in a Disrupted Declining Industry

Gareth H. Thomas, Evan J. Douglas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Schumpeter’s theory of creative destruction argues that technological innovation facilitates the growth of innovative new firms and causes the demise of old-technology firms. But not all disrupted firms wither and die – rather, some survive and grow by utilizing strategic entrepreneurship. Whereas the strategic entrepreneurship of disrupter firms has received considerable research interest, the strategies that disrupted firms use to avoid elimination in a disrupted declining industry have been afforded relatively little attention. This paper reports on a qualitative grounded research study of firms in the disrupted printing industry and reveals three main strategies used by survivors: namely, reconfiguration of external networks; exploitation of the untapped potential of intangible assets; and the rebalancing of legacy product exploitation and new product exploration. Propositions are developed regarding entrepreneurial strategies that disrupted incumbents may utilize to survive in disrupted industries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-37
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Small Business Strategy
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 22 Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


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