Strategies for Superior Performance under Adverse Conditions: A Focus on Small and Medium-sized High-growth Firms

Vassiliki C. Bamiatzi, Tom Kirchmaier

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This article explores the strategies pursued by small and medium-sized firms to actively sustain growth within declining markets. A critical analysis of relevant growth theories informs the development of a semi-structured interview schedule; findings drawn from 20 case studies indicate that firms adopt a multiple-strategy approach in which they simultaneously pursue an innovative differentiation and product or service-customisation strategy. Following this strategy, it was found that firms make an intentional search for high-margin products, avoid aggressive price competition and maintain tight control of costs. The article demonstrates that an adverse environment does not necessarily inhibit firm growth and that individual firm-specific strategies can be invoked to overcome volatile market conditions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Small Business Journal
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)259-284
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Declining industries
  • Divergence
  • Over-performers
  • Small firms
  • Strategy

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