Trigger points and high growth firms: the vital role of founder “sensing” and “seizing” capabilities

Rachel Rees-Jones, Ross C. Brown*, Dylan Evans-Jones

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Research on high growth firms (HGFs) is booming yet a strong conceptual understanding of how these firms obtain (and sustain) rapid growth remains (at best) partial. The main purpose of this paper to explore the role founders play in enabling episodes of rapid growth and how they help navigate this process.

This paper reports the findings from a qualitative study involving in-depth interviews with entrepreneurs enlisted onto a publicly funded high growth business accelerator programme in Wales. These interviews explored the causes of the firms’ rapid growth, their key growth trigger points, and the organisational consequences of rapid growth.

The research reveals that periods of high growth are intrinsically and inextricably inter-linked with the entrepreneurial traits and capabilities of their founders coupled with their ability to “sense” and “seize” pivotal growth opportunities. It also demonstrates founder-level dynamic capabilities enable firms to capitalise on pivotal “trigger points” thereby enabling their progression to a new “dynamic state” in a firm’s temporal evolution.

The novel approach towards theory building deployed herein is the use of theoretical elaboration as means of extending important existing theoretical constructs such as growth “trigger points” and founder dynamic capabilities. To capitalise on these trigger points, founders have to undergo a process of “temporal transitioning” to effectively manage and execute the growth process in firms. The work also has important policy implications, underlining the need for more relational forms of support for entrepreneurial founders.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research
Issue number1
Early online date19 Dec 2023
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jan 2024


  • High growth firms
  • Growth trigger points
  • Founders
  • Dynamic capabilities
  • Public policy


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