Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Business (Research)


Business and Social Studies

First Advisor

Dr Clare Rigg


This research is unique in that it profiles the growth trajectories of three global knowledge based companies in rural Ireland. The chosen companies were start-up small businesses that became international global leaders in their selected fields. The selected companies range from different industries but share similar growth trajectories and factors which have enabled high growth. There was a gap in research regarding the growth factors which have allowed small to medium-sized enterprises develop into large corporations. This study took an in-depth look at how each company has managed the vital factors in their growth transition in the hope of applying lessons to be learnt to small businesses with high growth potential. After a comprehensive literature review, a realist paradigm was chosen as the main basis for the research. The approach used was that of three case studies, with methods including sampling, qualitative and qualitative data, primary & secondary research along with tools including documentary analysis, in-depth interviews and observations. These tools allowed me to generate new theory from one setting to another, identifying patterns, concepts and possible new theories. In-depth interviews were carried out with key players who had witnesses the growth of each company first hand. Participants consisted of the Entrepreneurs, the company founders along with members of management and staff, these included Directors, personal assistants and senior managers. The results yielded some interesting facts with regards to small business growth and factors promoting growth such as finance, knowledge, entrepreneurship, marketing, risk and people. Each company followed a similar growth trajectory. Knowledge is seen as an important contributor to the growth of each company, while people and loyalty were seen as the vital ingredient to facilitate growth. Questions have been raised with regards to formal marketing and entrepreneurial marketing. In this study all three entrepreneurs display similar characteristics, and their vision has contributed to the overall growth of the company. The conclusion outlined in chapter 5, discovered as accurately as possible, the truth behind the growth of each company.

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