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Research Question and Purpose

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My intention in this research project is to address some of the limitations of earlier research by concentrating on deepening the understanding of the micro-foundations (i.e., endogenous entrepreneurial processes) of building dynamic alliance portfolio management capabilities that heterogeneously enhance sustained entrepreneurial growth. Specifically, I deepen the understanding of the endogenous entrepreneurial processes of building dynamic alliance portfolio management capabilities within established growth-oriented small and medium-sized enterprises (E.G.SMEs). The study’s context is growth-oriented multigenerational small and medium-sized family enterprises. I label these firms as – Enterprising Family SMEs (E.F.SMEs). In this endeavour, I combine insights from the fields of dynamic capabilities, alliance portfolios, organisational ambidexterity, firm growth, and family business. I believe that this cross-fertilisation will engender interesting empirical and theoretical findings that can constitute a basis for providing meaningful contributions to the understanding of the micro-foundations of dynamic alliance portfolio management capabilities that heterogeneously enhance sustained entrepreneurial growth in E.F.SMEs. Surmising from the preceding discussion, I hitherto assert that dynamic alliance portfolio management capabilities constitute a vital enterprise-level higher order dynamic capability. Thus, owing to the availability of seemingly inimitable intangible resources inherent in E.F.SMEs that nurture the building of dynamic alliance portfolio management capabilities, this manifestation is likely to contribute towards successfully enhancing E.F.SMEs sustained entrepreneurial growth – in comparison to industry counterparts/competitors. Hence, this is a decisive notion that deserves more warranted attention as evidenced by its ‘Holy Grail’ status within dynamic capabilities related scholarship, insofar as this one, herein.

It is hitherto well established that the antecedents of building dynamic alliance portfolio management capabilities may help to predict some of the observed heterogeneities in the sustained entrepreneurial growth outcomes of E.F.SMEs – in comparison to industry counterparts/competitors. However, the underlying micro-foundations, in the form of endogenous entrepreneurial processes that aid in demystifying how and in what ways E.F.SMEs are able to build dynamic alliance portfolio management capabilities (in comparison to rivals) to more effectively manage the accessed new tacit and explicit knowledge resources derived from their functional-level alliance portfolio partners – is less well understood. This is an important notion because by finding answers to this essential enquiry that is integral to both scholars and practitioners, more meaningful interpretations and novel solutions would be conceived. Therefore, this endeavour would help to advance scientific research and solve real-world practitioner problems and/or further calibrate core competences in this regard. As such, some of the key factors that help to explain how and in what ways E.F.SMEs outcompete peer-to-peer, and in comparison to their industry counterparts/competitors in successfully enhancing sustained entrepreneurial growth would be demystified.

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Based on these arguments, this dissertation’s overarching research question is: How and in what ways do the micro-foundations of dynamic alliance portfolio management capabilities relate to enterprising family SMEs successfully enhanced entrepreneurial growth? In line with the aforementioned arguments, I tackle this research question by examining the micro-foundations that are inherent in building dynamic alliance portfolio management capabilities, the types of incorporated alliance portfolios, and the realised heterogeneities of sustained entrepreneurial growth outcomes. In sum, the purpose of this doctoral dissertation is to contribute towards deepening the understanding of the endogenous entrepreneurial processes that facilitate the building of requisite enterprise-level micro-foundations of dynamic alliance portfolio management capabilities. The focus is on the facilitation of endogenous entrepreneurial processes that heterogeneously enhance E.F.SMEs sustained entrepreneurial growth in comparison to their rivals.

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