Dynamic capabilitites and growth strategy sustainability : A case-study of Russian high-growth private companies
Abstract: Companies operating in emerging markets face highly turbulent and complex environments. Russia is no exception; the firms acting on the Russian market perform in the conditions of economic instability, energy export dependence, state bureaucratic constraints and unfair competition from the part of oligarchic groups. However, despite all these challenges, more and more private owned companies manage to enjoy high growth and margins. A critical group of firms are the so-called high-growth private companies. These firms arouse special interest since they are believed to be main growth generators and, particularly in Russia, could become a key to new economic growth model. Operating in a highly turbulent Russian market requires companies to adopt and continually develop their strategies to quickly changing conditions in order to sustain growth and stay competitive in the long term. This can be achieved with the help of dynamic capabilities which serve as one of the sources of sustainable competitive advantage. However, there is a lack of research on Russian high-growth private companies and their growth strategies, even in Russian academic circles. The purpose of this study is to explain the sustainability of growth strategy by describing the linkages between Russian high-growth private companies’ dynamic capabilities, choice of growth strategy and sustainability of this growth strategy. This was studied through a qualitative multiple-case study of five Russian high-growth private companies within the IT-industry, which is one of the most rapidly developing industries in Russia. Interviews with CEOs and managers of the companies together with secondary data represent the gathered empirical data. Key issues such as companies’ dynamic capabilities, growth strategies, competitive advantages as well as the sustainability of companies’ strategies were analysed based on the empirical data. The results of the study indicate that the sustainability of company’s growth strategy depends on (1) combination of different strategic scopes (2) growth strategy foundation on company’s dynamic capabilities (3) sustainability of competitive advantage it provides (4) successful management of all the interconnected dimensions of growth. All five case companies possess sustainable competitive advantages and pursue sustainable growth strategies with a number of potential weaknesses. The study contributes to the knowledge of Russian high-growth private companies and their growth strategies as well as sustainability of growth strategies. Finally, we make recommendations for the case companies based on the results. Companies can sustain growth by building new competences and making certain changes to the existing strategies.
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