Edith Penrose and the Role of Self-Conception and Image of Context in the Growth of the Firm Subjectivity, Path-Dependency and Historical Analysis

Ellen Mølgaard

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearch


The object of this paper is to argue for a reintroduction (or
introduction) of Penrose‘s work into the field of business history.
Her work is of seminal importance because Penrose theorizes the
long term growth of firms and considers the influence of the past in
this process. Furthermore I argue that a revitalization of Penrose’s
work within business history is particularly relevant at this point in
time. The field is now beginning to discuss theoretical concepts
drawing on ideas of subjectivity and focusing for example on
meaning creation as a means to explore actions. Such concepts, I
argue, are at the very center of Penrose’s theory of growth and her
work represents a path to developing concrete tools for doing
historical analyses that are sensitive to the subjectivity of being and
acting. To develop this last point I offer a new and close reading of
Penrose’s theory of growth highlighting ideas of meaning creation,
showing these to be at the very center of her work and analyses.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2015
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Event2015 BHC-EBHA Meeting: Inequalities: Winners and Losers in Business - Miami, Florida, United States
Duration: 24 Jun 201527 Jun 2015

Annual Meeting

Annual Meeting2015 BHC-EBHA Meeting
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityMiami, Florida
Internet address

Cite this