University of Mannheim wins IECER Best Paper Award for Research on Scaling

For the fourth time, researchers from the University of Mannheim were honored with the Best Paper Award at the recent Interdisciplinary European Conference on Entrepreneurship Research (IECER). Researchers Claire Mula, Thomas Hipp and Nora Zybura from the ifm/ University of Mannheim were delighted to receive the award for their paper “The scale up process: How high-tech startups transform during scaling”. The paper is a result of collaboration between PhD candidates (T. Hipp and N. Zybura) and entrepreneur and researcher (C. Mula) and focuses on high-tech firms who have successfully transitioned beyond initial start-up to scaling.

Based on a qualitative approach, the study finds scaling in high-tech firms is a complex mix of new and related internal activities and priorities, which the authors summarize in a Scaling Process Framework. The Scaling Process Framework includes three major firm level goals, dominant priorities and internal activities most relevant to the early scaling process: (1) build capacity ahead of scaling to increase organizational size and autonomy, (2) introduce new organizational and process innovation, able to deliver and support increasing customers and sales, and (3) pursue improvements in scale economics to improve returns to capital invested. A fourth individual-level dimension relevant to founder learning and transforming from founder to CEO also emerges.

The paper was chosen from the IECER-track “Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurial Families, and Family Firms” which was organized and chaired by Jan-Philipp Ahrens (University of Mannheim) and Christian Hauser (University of Applied Sciences of the Grisons, Switzerland). The 20th annual IECER was held this year in Maastricht, The Netherlands, from 26 to 28 October 2022, and received around 50 total submissions. The researchers are grateful to fellow researchers and participants for their feedback as well as the IECER conference organizing committee including Professor Mark Sanders, Professor Oliver Som and Professor Frank Lasch for this year’s event.




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