From one dominant growth mode to another: Switching between strategic expansion modes

Xolani Nghona

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

116 Downloads (Pure)


In this PhD thesis, chapter 1 narrates the extant literature showing that firms expand through the organic growth strategy, others through the acquisition strategy, and some by a combination of these two modes. It also reveals that firms sometimes switch from one dominant growth mode to the other, but we have limited insight on why top managers switch modes and how these strategic switch processes unfold. After showing that extant literature is silent about these gaps, chapter 2 reveals that behavioral theory of the firm (BTOF) stand a chance to offer plausible explanations but rather through a newly emergent stream instead of the dominant performance feedback. Chapter 3 adopts qualitative, interpretative grounded theory permitting us to tap into the lived experiences of top managers and annual reports to form the basis of emerging theory. While the context of the study is discussed in chapter 4, case-by-case and cross-case data analyses are explored in 5 and 6, respectively. Lastly, chapter 7 offers three theoretical contributions a) performance anxiety as a major driver leading top managers to switch strategies, from one growth mode to another b) explaining this through forward-looking logic (performance prospects) of BTOF, instead of backwardlooking logic (performance feedback), and c) exposing the three phases that bring to bear the situational, action-formation and transformational mechanisms at work, and in doing so reveal the unfolding processes taking place during the formation of a specific switch mode.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Tilburg University
  • Noorderhaven, Niels, Promotor
  • Small, James, Co-promotor
Award date15 Dec 2021
Place of PublicationTilburg
Print ISBNs978 90 5668 672 7
Publication statusPublished - 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'From one dominant growth mode to another: Switching between strategic expansion modes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this